Tag: hunting

MDFB Pleased with Legislation Passed in First Year of New Administration

MDFB PLEASED WITH legislation passed in first year of new administration


2023 Maryland General Assembly Agricultural Bills Wrap-up  

DAVIDSONVILLE, MD. (April 12, 2023) — Maryland Farm Bureau is pleased with the outcome of the 2023 General Assembly, with six out of ten of its priority bills expected to be signed into law by Governor Wes Moore. MDFB’s topline supported bills expected to be signed by the governor include:


HB152 – Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) – Urban Agriculture Grant Fund
Bill sponsors: Delegate Melissa Wells.
This bill expands the purpose and scope of the Urban Agriculture Grant Program and the Urban Agriculture Grant Fund, expanding the scope to apply to agricultural producers in an urban area, including but not limited to Baltimore City, and provides grants to qualified applicants, including but not limited to nonprofit organizations in Baltimore City. The governor must include in his annual budget bill an appropriation of at least $100,000 to the fund.

HB253/SB262 – Environment – On-Farm Composting Facilities – Permit – Exemption
Bill sponsors: Delegate Emily Shetty and Senator Jason Gallion.
This bill, among other things, requires the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to establish an exemption from the permitting requirements under the Code of Maryland Regulations for an operator of an on-farm composting facility that (1) uses 10,000 square feet of area or less for active food scrap composting; (2) composts only one or more of a specified list of feedstocks; (3) records the amount and source of specified source-separated organics composted, and other necessary records, provided to MDE and (4) meets any other conditions specified in regulations.

HB389/SB34 – MDA – State Specialist for Value-Added Agriculture
Bill sponsors: Delegate Todd Morgan and Senator Katie Fry-Hester.
This bill establishes a State Specialist for Value-Added Agriculture as a position within MDA.

HB378/SB310 – Natural Resources – Black Bear Conflict Reduction and Damage Reimbursement Fund – Uses
Bill sponsors: Delegate Sara Love and Senator Chris West.
This bill alters the Black Bear Damage Reimbursement Fund to authorize grants from the fund to be made for projects that reduce conflicts between black bears and humans. It renames the past fund and increases maximum amount of reimbursement per person annually from $3,000 to $5,000. The governor must allocate $50,000 annually.

HB983/SB327 – Hunting, Wildlife Conservation, and Outdoor Recreation – Funding, Promotion, Management, Licenses, Permits, and Stamps
Bill sponsors: Delegate Nick Allen and Senator Sarah Elfreth.
This comprehensive wildlife management and hunting bill cleans up the landowner liability language to ensure a landowner has proper liability coverage if they allow hunters to hunt on their land; establishes the Wildlife Conservation, Education, and Outreach Program to provide outreach and foster an interest in outdoor recreation and stewardship; and increases fees (unchanged for 36 years) for many hunting licenses and stamps, to generate the needed funding for Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to qualify for the available USDA matching funds to address food habitats and farmer conservation cost-share, among other things.

HB200 – Budget Bill (Fiscal Year 2024)
Bill sponsors: Speaker Adrienne Jones on behalf of Governor Wes Moore.
This bill is the only bill constitutionally required to be passed as a balanced budget during the 2023 legislative session. The bill appropriates full funding for critical ag programs in key state agencies and departments. MDFB requested four additional programs to be funded; however, only two were included: 1) $825,000 to MDA’s budget to fund the Maryland Agricultural Fair Board to promote state and county ag fairs and exhibits; and 2) $150,000 to DNR’s budget to fund the Venison Donation Grant Fund that is currently unfunded. This fund has been used in the past to grant funds to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH).

MDFB will be prioritizing new versions of the following bills in 2024. MDFB-supported bills that didn’t pass:

HB592/SB418 – Property Tax – Agricultural Land and Improvements – Assessment
Bill sponsors: Delegate Courtney Watson and Senator Sarah Elfreth.
This bill outlines that value-added ag activities are a farm or ag use of land for assessment purposes. It defines value-added ag activities as: (I) Agricultural Alcohol Production; (II) Agritourism; (III) Equine Activities; (IV) Value-added ag products processing from products derived from the farm; (V) Roadside Stands; (VI) other ag uses that are permissible under local zoning; and (VII) other activities as determined by the secretary of agriculture. This bill defines barns and structures used in value-added farms as ag structures and required to be assessed as such. The bills remained stagnant this year with concerns on the impact to property tax revenues. Therefore, the senator has agreed to craft a bill that satisfies the stakeholders, Maryland Association of Counties and the Department of Assessment and Taxation.

HB678/SB640 – Sales and Use Tax – Electricity for Agricultural Purposes – Exemption
Bill sponsors: Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes and Senator Michael Jackson.
This bill adds to the existing ag sales and use tax exemption on electricity that is used for ag purposes, such as raising livestock and poultry, irrigation, or crop production and grain harvest. Currently, only farm electricity use tied to the house meter is tax exempt. Unfortunately, just like last year, this bill was held up in the House due to potential fiscal impact.

Bills opposed by Maryland Farm Bureau as drafted:

HB230/SB224 – MDE – Zero-Emission Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles – Regulations (Clean Trucks Act of 2023)
Bill sponsors: Delegate Sara Love and Senator Malcolm Augustine.
This bill requires MDE, by December 1, 2023, to adopt regulations that, among other things, (1) establish requirements for the sale of new zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in the state; (2) update existing regulations and incorporate by reference the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) regulations, as revised and updated; and (3) take effect starting with model year 2027 (unless delayed by stipulation), among other things. Because a needs assessment and deployment plan was amended into the bill, MDFB removed its opposition.

HB319/SB158 – Pesticide Registration – PFAS Testing – Requirement
Bill sponsors: Delegate Dana Stein and Senator Shelly Hettleman.
As drafted, this bill, beginning January 1, 2024, would prohibit the secretary of agriculture from registering a pesticide for use against mosquitoes in the state unless the distributor of the pesticide submits to the department test results indicating the pesticide has passed the PFAS test and an affidavit attesting to the legitimacy of the PFAS test results. Because the bill was amended to instead become a study, MDFB removed its opposition.

MDFB followed 141 bills that were introduced and testified on 69 of them. Of the 57 bills supported, 24 passed and should be signed into law by the governor this spring. Of the 12 bills MDFB opposed, all 12 were either defeated or amended to remove our opposition. With a new term, so many new legislators and a new governor, MDFB worked diligently to ensure that the voices of our members were heard during this legislative session to protect and grow Maryland agriculture.

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MARYLAND FARM BUREAU®, INC. is a 501(c)(5) federation that serves as the united voice of Maryland farm families. Our organizational strength comes from the active participation of over 9,500 individual and family members who belong to the state’s 23 local county Farm Bureau organizations. Since 1915, Maryland Farm Bureau has been committed to protecting and growing agriculture and preserving rural life. Maryland Farm Bureau is a proud member of the American Farm Bureau® Federation. For more information, visit MarylandFB.org.



Amber Pearson | Maryland Farm Bureau, Inc. (TSN Communications)

573.268.6853 | amber@tsncommunications.com


Maryland Farm Bureau Hosts Legislative Day

maryland farm bureau hosts legislative day
Annual Day in Annapolis Brings Farmers, Legislators Together

DAVIDSONVILLE, MD. (February 10, 2022) — Maryland Farm Bureau (MDFB) hosted its annual Day in Annapolis yesterday to give its members the opportunity to stay up-to-date on legislation affecting farming and rural communities and to visit with their legislators. The format, virtual due to the Maryland Capitol’s pandemic closure, allowed for nearly 50 legislators and 120 farmers to interact, with an issues briefing, questions, and break-out sessions.

“We know how important these bills are — especially their implications for Maryland’s farming community. Thank you to all of the legislators and staff for taking the time to learn how these issues affect our ability to grow and raise food, fiber, and renewable fuel, as well,” said Wayne Stafford, MDFB president.

Proposed legislation that MDFB is currently following are bills moving pesticide regulation from Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE); deer and wildlife damage to crops and privately owned farmland; permitting and air quality regulations; and the right to repair farm equipment.

“The right-to-repair bill helps to ensure that all sizes of farms can continue to operate to meet time-sensitive needs of crops, and aren’t dependent on huge companies,” said Delegate Lorig Charkoudian. “I know large equipment companies are fighting this, so we should look out for the small family farmer. I’m 100% with Maryland Farm Bureau on this and happy to continue to move that forward.”

MDFB’s list of priority bills include the following, which it supports:

  • SB 296/HB 558: Establishes a definition for “agritourism” with regards to land use. It adds camping and incidental outdoor stays to the state’s definition of agritourism.
  • HB 562: Requires farm equipment manufacturers to provide farmers the capability and tools needed to repair their own modern farm equipment, so that they are not dependent on over-committed technical service providers during the busiest times of the year for farming.
  • Various bills establishing funds to help urban agriculture, such as HB 855 with water and power infrastructure.
  • SB 800: Sales and use tax exemption for agricultural electricity.
  • Various bills allowing the management of deer/wildlife on private and state-owned property to reduce widespread destruction of crops, such as SB 497/HB 592, and in Baltimore County SB 427/HB 682.
  • SB 582: Provides that if a landowner directly invites or permits an individual to use their property for hunting, the invited individual assumes all responsibility and liability for their own safety.


A number of bills introduced during this session would make farming more difficult in Maryland.

“Several of these bills would cause undue burden and hardship on Maryland farmers while costs related to operating a farm today continue to rise,” said Colby Ferguson, MDFB director of government and public relations. “Some of these bills ignore decades of conservation management efforts and best management practices farmers have put in place to protect air and water quality and soil health. Farmers build a livelihood for themselves and their families right next to or on the same land in which they grow crops and raise livestock; being good stewards of the environment is always in their best interest.”

Maryland Farm Bureau opposes the following bills:

  • HB 11: Excludes many energy sources derived from agricultural production from the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.
  • SB 268/HB 387: Would move pesticide regulation from MDA to MDE.
  • HB 596: Grants Marylanders standing to intervene on any state application process if they believe another’s action or permit interferes with any of their rights to a clean environment.
  • HB 798: Would create a new government bureaucracy to enact costly air quality requirements for farms above and beyond existing environmental quality standards.
  • HB 496: Establishes the requirement of all employers of all sizes (including self-employed) to pay into a Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program.

“If we don’t use ag sources such as biomass and thermal energy as renewable energy sources, then all of that waste has to go somewhere not beneficial and is a nuisance,” said Senator Stephen Hershey, on HB 11. “It’s important to continue educating all of our colleagues on how various renewable energy is actually produced and utilized as opposed to negative assumptions based on not understanding.”

Bob Cissel, a Montgomery County farmer, addressed the deer damage and wildlife management bills. “Our deer damage problems in Maryland are like if you had a store and in the mornings you woke up and 9% of your inventory was gone,” he said.

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MARYLAND FARM BUREAU®, INC. is a 501(c)(5) federation that services as the united voice of Maryland farm families. Our organizational strength comes from the active participation of over 10,000 individual and family members who belong to the state’s 23 local county Farm Bureau organizations. Since 1915, Maryland Farm Bureau has been committed to protecting and growing agriculture and preserving rural life. Maryland Farm Bureau® is a proud member of the American Farm Bureau Federation. Learn more at MDFarmBureau.com.  

Media Contact:
Amber Pearson | Maryland Farm Bureau, Inc. (TSN Communications)
573.268.6853 | amber@tsncommunications.com

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