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Legislators Tour Agriculture Department Laboratories

Turf & Seed Program Manager Dale Morris shows legislators the lab.

Turf & Seed Program Manager Dale Morris demonstrates lab work to Delegate Benjamin Brooks and Delegate Tony Knott.

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Secretary Joe Bartenfelder invited members of the Maryland General Assembly and local elected officials to tour the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s laboratory wing this week to see firsthand the diverse and scientific work the department conducts for citizens across the state – not just farmers.

“With the General Assembly Session right around the corner, state legislators are sure to get an earful from many sources about a wide range of issues,” said Secretary Bartenfelder. “I want to make sure that when bills that impact farmers and the agricultural sector are introduced, our lawmakers understand what the impact will be.”

The department has several laboratories that many citizens, including legislators, don’t know about – or don’t know are part of the department. The group spent nearly two hours touring the:

  • Turf and Seed Lab, which inspects seeds sold in Maryland to ensure they are of good quality and properly labeled;
  • The Weights and Measures lab, including grain lab, which ensures that anything consumers purchase by weights or volume is accurately measured;
  • The Entomology Lab, which supports the agricultural industry by studying plants and pests to determine if they are dangerous or damaging to crops grown in Maryland;
  • The Mosquito Control lab, which protects human health by tracking and identifying mosquito populations and movements;
  • The State Chemist wing, which tests and registers an assortment of products – including pesticides, fertilizer and pet food – to ensure they are properly made and labeled.

Legislators also toured the department’s greenhouse where research is being done on plant diseases and pest mortality.

The tour of the lab wing follows a series of five farm tours across the State that Secretary Bartenfelder hosted for legislators this past fall so that those who don’t normally spend time on farms could see up close what farming is all about.

Photos of the lab tour can be found on the department’s Flickr account.

For more information about the department.

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