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May 2012

two people holding a purple trap for the emerald ash borer near trees

Smart, Green and Growing logoMaryland Department of Agriculture News

  Celebrating Maryland Agriculture May 2012  
In This Issue
Healthy Maryland Week
Emerald Ash Borer Control
Nutrient Managment Regs
Strawberry Time
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
Cankerworm Defoliation
Mosquito Control Spraying
Pesticide Container Recylcing
Online Vet License Renewals
Pet Food Recall
Horses in Cinema Week
MD Ag Commission Nominations
Chinese Delegation Visits
Featured Recipe

 Secretary’s Corner 


MDA Secretary Buddy Hance

Earlier this month, Governor Martin O’Malley signed an important new law making it easier for farmers to pass farmland down through generations by decreasing the estate tax burden. Long sought after by the agriculture community, the Family Farm Preservation Act of 2012, better known as the “estate tax” bill, allows children of farmers to inherit farms valued less than $5 million without incurring estate taxes, provided that the land stays in agricultural use for at least 10 years. The legislation also reduces the Maryland estate tax rate from 16 percent to 5 percent for qualified agricultural property valued more than $5 million.

We thank Governor O’Malley, Senate President Miller, and everyone involved in the passage of this legislation that provides critical protection for our heritage and strengthens our agricultural economy.  When our farm businesses are sustainable, the next generation can see farming as a viable career opportunity, and Maryland will preserve its open space and locally grown food industry.

Cover Crops

I encourage all Maryland farmers to plant cover crops this year.  Farmers can sign up between June 21 and July 16 at their local soil conservation district office.  I sincerely thank and commend our farmers who made last year’s 429,000 acre cover crop planting the largest in the program’s history. It will go a long way toward helping Maryland restore the Chesapeake Bay.

NEW Ice Cream Trail

As we approach June – National Dairy Month – we are very excited to announce that MDA, in partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Council, will launch a Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail that stretches from Washington County to Worcester County. The trail will feature Maryland farms that produce and sell ice cream on site. We’re also setting up a Geotrail for geocachers with the Maryland Geocaching Society to coincide with the ice cream trail – stay tuned for more details.

CSP Appeal

A little more than a year ago, three large Eastern Shore farm operations began defending themselves from an allegation brought by USDA/ NRCS in which they collectively faced the prospect of having to give back about $1 million to the federal government as a result of following erroneous guidance by USDA staff at the state and national levels about their eligibility to participate in the program. We are pleased that the appeal determination has found that the farmers fulfilled their obligation to the now defunct Conservation Security Program (CSP) program.

USDA 150th Anniversary

150 years ago this month, President Abraham Lincoln established the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Back then, he recognized the potential of America’s farmers to find new ways to cultivate the land and that with advances in research and technology, America’s farmers and ranchers could provide a safe, ample food supply for our nation and the world. In one of President Lincoln’s only speeches on agriculture, he said, “…no other human occupation opens so wide a field for the profitable and agreeable combination of labor with cultivated thought, as agriculture.”

Two centuries ago, 90 percent of the population farmed; today, it is less than 2 percent. Most of the country depends on those 2 percent for food, fiber and paper products. While the number of acres devoted to farming has decreased, farmers continue to increase food production to help feed the world as the population continues to increase.

Today’s American farmer feeds about 155 people worldwide. In 1960, that number was 25.8.

By providing resources, assisting in conservation, helping with marketing on a national and international scale, and much more, the USDA has been the key to a strong ag industry in this country.

Preakness Stakes

This month we also celebrated the 137th running of Preakness Stakes, the best known of Maryland’s equine events. As a state, we are fortunate to have a strong horse industry involving recreational, competitive, racing, therapeutic and breeding activities.

Maryland has more horses per square mile than any other state. Some 29,000 jobs and more than 587,000 acres (or nearly 10 percent) of Maryland land is owned and/or controlled by Maryland horse owners and their families.

Governor O’Malley is committed to keeping the horse industry strong in Maryland by collaborating with all segments of the horse industry to see that these jobs and the equine-related working farms stay in place.

Horse Stable Guide

Later this year we will publish the first ever “Official Guide to Maryland’s Licensed Stables” – a comprehensive directory promoting “Maryland’s Best” horse riding facilities, boarding and rescue operations. If you are a licensed horse stable in Maryland, contact ross.peddicord or 410-841-5798  for more details.


Gypsy Moths

Congratulations to MDA’s Forest Pest Management Section for their extremely efficient and safe gypsy moth spray efforts this year.  They sprayed 2,530 acres in Garrett County in four days! The gypsy moth is the most destructive pest of forest and shade trees in Maryland.     


Farmers Markets


Our warm start to spring has brought an early start to our strawberries, asparagus, bedding plants, and other early crops are they are now in full swing.  Be sure to get out to your local farmers market, roadside stand, or favorite restaurant and support your Maryland farmers by buying and eating local! Click here to to find a local farm or agricultural activity near you.



Buddy Hance 


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MDA Joins DHMH in Recognizing Nutritional Foods as Part of Governor O’Malley’s Healthy Maryland Week

MDA, DHMH Leaders Serve Fruit Smoothies at Community Clinic


MDA Secretary Buddy Hance and DHMH Deputy Secretary Fran Phillips

MDA Secretary Buddy Hance joined Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) Deputy Secretary Fran Phillips to discuss healthy eating and demonstrate how to make healthy fruit smoothies as part of Governor  Martin O’Malley’s Healthy Maryland Week. The event was held for clients at the Community Clinic, Inc., Wheaton WIC Center, in Montgomery County.

“Today nutritious foods are available at a variety of convenient locations like local farmers’ markets and farm stands,” said Secretary Hance. “Maryland offers a number of programs to assist lower income families gain access to affordable nutritious, local food. Buying locally, especially directly from farmers at farmers’ markets, is good for the environment, good for our health and is a key to ensuring a smart, green and growing future for Maryland families.”

For more information

Governor Designates May 20-26 EAB Awareness Week


EAB Biocontrols
EAB Biocontrol Agents

Governor Martin O’Malley designated May 20-26 Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Awareness Week in an ongoing effort to inform residents about ways to help stop the spread of the emerald ash borer, a destructive pest that kills ash trees. This week, MDA began releasing biocontrol agents in Prince George’s counties to help kill the invasive pest that has been destroying the state’s ash trees since 2003. Check out the WJZ story about these exciting new efforts.

The ash tree is one of the most important urban trees in Maryland and an important woodland tree in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Last year, Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance quarantined the 14 counties west of the Chesapeake Bay and Susquehanna

Invasive Pest Emerald Ash Borer
Emerald Ash Borer

River, making it illegal for Marylanders to move firewood to the Eastern Shore. The EAB, which has not been detected on the Shore, hides in firewood. MDA encourages everyone to buy their firewood at their destination rather than take it with them so they do not unknowingly infest an area with the pest. For more information about how to identify the EAB or ash tree damage.

MDA Submits Proposed Changes to Nutrient Management Regulations to AELR for Review

Proposed changes to Maryland’s Nutrient Management Regulations were submitted to the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review (AELR) for review this month. Following months of discussions with stakeholder groups, MDA finalized its proposed new rules for the use of manure, biosolids and other organic nutrient sources on crop fields. The goal of the process is to achieve consistency in the way all sources of nutrients are managed. Once the proposed changes are published in the Maryland Register, MDA will provide public notice and offer a 45-day public comment period. For more information.

May is National Strawberry Month  

Maryland strawberries

Many crops have been about two weeks early due to the warm winter and early spring, and that means strawberries are plump, juicy and ready for National Strawberry Month. According the USDA National Agriculture Statistic Service’s Agricultural Census, Maryland farms harvest about 248 acres of strawberries on 150 farms. Consumers can buy fresh, local, Maryland strawberries at farmers’ markets, pick-your-own operations, farm stands, and grocery stores. To find a location near you, visit

MDA, Partners Protect More than 4,000 Hemlock Trees

Hemlock Tree
MDA works to protect old growth hemlocks.


MDA’s Forest Pest Management Section, supported by about 60 volunteers with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Park Service’s Maryland Conservation Corps, inoculated more than 4,000 old growth Hemlock trees in New Germany State Park in Garrett County from the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) this month. The HWA is an invasive pest the size of a dot that has been killing hemlock trees across the northeastern United States for years. Usually, 40 to 80 percent of these pests died during winter; however, the warm winter killed less than 10 percent of them this year. Each tree has to be inoculated by hand – not with sprays. For more information.

Cankerworms Causing Defoliation in So. Maryland Trees

An infestation of spring cankerworms have eaten the leaves off of many

Spring Cankerworm
Spring cankerworm not expected to cause lasting damage.

trees in Charles and St. Mary’s Counties in Southern Maryland; however, MDA entomologists expect most trees to survive the defoliation without difficulty. For more information.  Residents concerned about the cankerworm’s impact on high-value trees may want to consider hiring a licensed pesticide applicator. For a list of licensed applicators.

MDA Began Mosquito Control Spraying in May

Populations Early but No Worse than Previous Years – So Far

The mosquito season has begun and MDA reminds residents that its spray trucks will be out from dusk to dawn in participating areas in an effort to prevent

Asian Tiger Mosquito photo
Asian Tiger Mosquito

mosquito-borne diseases in humans, pets and livestock. MDA works with more than 2,000 communities in 16 counties to survey and monitor mosquito populations and implement appropriate control activities, such as applying insecticide by air and ground. All MDA trucks are clearly marked with the MDA logo, and the agency has signed written agreements with private property owners whose property is enrolled in the spray program. Property owners who are concerned about any vehicles on their property should call local police authorities. For more information.

Maryland Recycles Pesticide Containers for 20th Year

MDA’s pesticide container recycling program helps prevent pesticide residues from entering the soil and local waterways and has saved valuable landfill space by recycling 655,000 empty, plastic pesticide containers. The program, which is about to begin its 20th year of operation, recycles properly rinsed, empty pesticide containers. All agricultural producers and pesticide applicators can participate in 24 collection days from June through September at six locations throughout the state. Participation is free. For more information.

Veterinary Professionals Encouraged to Renew Licenses with New Online System

The Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (SBVME), through MDA, launched a new online system this month that allows the state’s veterinarians, veterinary technicians and veterinary hospital owners to renew their licenses online. Veterinarians and veterinary hospitals must renew their licenses by June 30 every year. Veterinary technicians must renew their licenses every three years. The system is expected to streamline the process and make it more efficient for both veterinary professionals and the SBVME’s small administrative staff.
For more information.

Pet Food Illustration

Pet Owners Urged to Discard Recalled Pet Food Due to Risk of Salmonella Poisoning 

MDA urges pet owners to discard packages of pet food voluntarily recalled by Diamond Pet Foods due to potential Salmonella contamination to pets and people. The company and several others with products manufactured at the Gaston, S.C. facility are recalling certain products in cooperation with federal food safety and health agencies. MDA is supporting the recall by informing retailers that carry the pet food to remove the affected products from sale and to return them to the manufacturer. Consumers who have any of these products should discard them immediately. For more information.

MDA’s Horse Industry Board Sponsors Horses in Cinema Week at AFI to Celebrate Preakness

Ron Turcott and Bettie McCaffrie
Secretariat Jockey Ron Turcott visits with MDA’s Bettie McCaffrey during kick off to Horses in Cinema Week.

The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB), a program of MDA, joined the Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Horse Council, to sponsor the “Horses in Cinema-A Celebration of the Preakness” film series at the American Film Institute Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring. The family friendly movie series of eight movies led up to and celebrated the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore this month. The festival kicked off with a featured showing of “Secretariat” and a visit by Ron Turcott, the jockey who road the legendary horse in all three legs of the Triple Crown in 1973. For more information about the festival.

MDA Seeking Nominations for the Maryland Agricultural Commission

The Maryland Agricultural Commission is seeking nominations to fill seven positions on the Maryland Agricultural Commission. Those positions represent: bio-fuels, food processing, direct farm marketing, aquaculture, vegetables, agri-tourism and nursery. The Commission represents various commodities and organizations across the state and serves as an advisory body to Maryland’s Secretary of Agriculture. The commission meets monthly. For more information.

Chinese Delegations Visit Maryland Sites

Chinese Delegation Visits Winbak Farm
Chinese delegation visit Winbak Farm on the Eastern Shore to see how harness racers are trained.

MDA hosted two different Chinese Delegations during the past month – one interested in food safety and good agricultural practices, the other interested in the many faces of Maryland’s horse industry. The first delegation visited farm and processing sites, including Old Line Custom Meat Company in Baltimore and Roseda Black Angus Farm in Monkton. The second delegation visited Winbak Farm, Fairhill Training Center, and Hassler Dressage on the Eastern Shore and attended The Preakness and related events.

Pasta Primavera with Baby Vegetables and Fresh Herbs

Spring peas on display
Spring peas ©Edwin Remsberg/

Recipe courtesy of Dishing Up Maryland by Lucie Snodgrass

1/2 cup shelled fresh peas
1/2 cup baby carrots, peeled, sliced lengthwise, halved
1/2 cup sliced baby yellow squash
1/2 cup sliced baby zucchini
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh fettuccine
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Steam the peas, carrots, squash, and zucchini on a steamer rack set over the boiling water for 4 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pot and set them aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over low heat, and then whisk in the flour, cooking and stirring until the mixture is smooth and bubbling.  Add the half-and-half slowly, continuing to cook and stir until the sauce is smooth and thick.  Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, the steamed vegetables, salt and pepper and heat through.

Add the fettuccine to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer it to a large serving bowl. Top the pasta with the creamy vegetable sauce, basil and chives, tossing until well mixed. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

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Thank you for reading our latest publication. We are always looking for ways to improve how we serve our constituents. Please send your comments, suggestions and ideas to or call 410-841-5881.
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Julie Oberg, Communications Director, 410-841-5888, 
Vanessa Orlando, Public Information Officer, 410-841-5889, 

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Celebrate Maryland Wine Week, June 8 – 17! Support our family farmers and enjoy special promotions at select wine shops and restaurants. Maryland’s Best, through it’s web site and advertising, will be promoting local wine throughout June. Visit to find local wine and related events near you.




Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jason Schellhardt
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888

Megan Guilfoyle
Public Information Officer
Telephone: 410-841-5889

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