FARMER CRIES FOUL OVER 20/20 PANEL
From: Samuel B. Fielder, III
Chrome Meadows Dairy Farm, Jarrettsville
I am writing this letter to express my concerns about the governor's 20/20 Commission and its purpose. I feel it is an ill-conceived idea that will only hurt the family farm. We depend heavily on the equity in our land to secure financing for our farm activities.
Also, many times our land is the security we rely on for emergencies and planning for our future.
Unlike many other people, we do not have extensive insurance coverage or a retirement plan provided for us. Usually, the income derived from our farm activities is invested directly back into the farm.
The reason we elect government officials isto make sure that all the people in the state get represented. I feel that the 20/20 Commission is not a fair representation of the farmer or his viewpoint. We are the party most directly affected by this proposed law, but there is only one farmer on the committee.
We must be treated fairly and our rights protected.
We are a minority, and if you are going to take away the equity in our land we must be financially compensated.
How would you feel if the state government wanted to pass a law that your house is only allowed to be sold for half of its total equity?
I would be willing to bet that a bill like that would never get through. . . . So, you have a responsibility to protect our rights just as you would protect your own.
If you want to protect the open space and the farmer, increasing the size of the lot will not do that. It is not fair to the average citizen to pass a law that restricts the amount of available lots and increases thesize of the lots. Most people cannot afford a 20-acre lot.
I am ayoung farmer and plan to continue farming, but I cannot afford to buy a 20-acre lot to farm. However, if you require the farmer and the landowners to sell a minimal-size lot, the rest of the land would thenbe left open for farming and open space.
A good example would be a 100-acre farm in Harford County. This farm would have 10 lots.
Instead of cutting this farm up into 10-acre plots and selling it, I propose that a minimal acreage required for proper drainage be plottedand the majority of the land be left for farming. In this example, with our current zoning laws, a minimum of 20 acres would be plotted for houses and 80 acres would be left permanently in agriculture.
Iwould even go so far as to suggest that with a proper perk, the sizeof the lot be reduced from 2 acres to 1 acre, which would leave evenmore land to agriculture and open space.
In conclusion, I hope you and your constituents will take this voter's opinion into consideration when making your decision.
The United States of America has the finest farmers in the world, and I am proud to be a member of thiselite group. We are capable of providing for this nation as well as being the most efficient and highest exporter of agricultural products in the world.
It is amazing when you consider that this is accomplished by a group that represents less than 3 percent of the population of theUnited States. In order for us to continue to meet the world's growing needs and provide a high-quality, low-cost product, we must be allowed to have an economically efficient system to work in.