Celebrating Century Farm Families
Published in the January 27, 2018, edition of Lancaster Farming
Last week, I was honored to join Governor Larry Hogan at the State House as we inducted nine families into the Century Farm Program. This program recognizes families who have owned and farmed their land for more than 100 years. These families are great examples of the kind of dedication and hard-work that makes agriculture the state’s most important industry.
This year’s honorees included:
- Farm at the Pines (Carroll County)
- Generation Farm (Carroll County)
- RockNel (Carroll County)
- Louisa’s Place (Cecil County)
- Transquaking Farms (Dorchester County)
- Forrest Hall Farm (St. Mary’s County)
- Perdue Family Farm (Wicomico County)
- Shockley Farms (Worcester County)
- William Watson Farm (Worcester County)
Since the program started back in 1994, we have recognized 182 farms. That represents about one percent of Maryland’s 12,200 farms.
The best agricultural preservation program is an economically healthy agriculture industry. Farming has formed the foundation of our nation’s economy for hundreds of years. Our Century Farm families are stewards of the land who have maintained family traditions and a continuity of agriculture important to our communities and our economy.
On behalf of the Hogan-Rutherford administration, I want to reiterate how much we appreciate these families and their commitment to our state’s rural heritage.
During the Legislative Session, the Maryland Department of Agriculture follows many bills that may impact the agency and the constituents we serve. We will regularly post a synopsis of the bills the department is tracking and a hearing schedule that is updated from the Department of Legislative Services website. If we provide a PowerPoint presentation or written testimony for any bill, it will be posted on our website after the hearing, if not sooner.
Earlier this week, my team and I briefed the Maryland Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs and House Environment & Transportation committees on a number of issues and provided status updates on several key initiatives here at the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
As far as the department’s legislative priorities, we have submitted a departmental bill to establish a statewide definition of agritourism (House Bill 252).
The definition was drafted by the Governor’s Intergovernmental Commission for Agriculture (GICA), and would define agritourism as “an activity conducted on a farm that is offered to a member of the general public or to invited guests for the purpose of education, recreation, or active involvement in the farm operation.”
The bill also includes a list of activities to be included in this definition. For more information, visit the Maryland General Assembly’s website.
To view presentations and all of our 2018 Legislation information, visit www.mda.maryland.gov.