Bill of rights for farmers needed, Goldstein says

October 26, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

Maryland farmers need a bill of rights to continue making a decent living and to protect their property values, Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein told a group of Carroll County farmers last night.

Mr. Goldstein, who has been a state Farm Bureau member since 1938, was the featured speaker at the annual Carroll County Farm Bureau meeting, held at the Pleasant Valley fire hall.

"We have to realize that these rights are necessary, or else the farmer will become an endangered species here in Maryland and throughout America," he said. "Agriculture is not just America's backbone. It's our heart and soul."

The comptroller congratulated Carroll County for preserving from development the most farmland in the state, a great contribution to Maryland's largest industry -- agriculture. Agriculture accounts for $12 billion in the state economy each year, he noted.

"You are not farming for a community or a state or even a national market any more," the nine-term comptroller said. "You now serve a global market."

In other business, Margaret's Fancy, owned by Roger Thor and John Christian Roop, was honored as a Century Farm in Carroll County.

Century Farms have been in the same family for at least 100 years.

The 98-acre farm was originally acquired by the present owners' great-great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Englar, in 1881.

At the meeting, Farm Bureau members also approved a slate of 35 county, state and federal resolutions, which will be discussed at the statewide convention in December.

The slate forms the Farm Bureau's legislative platform for the next year. County resolutions for this year include:

* Supporting the Carroll County zoning administrator's recommendation that county zoning laws be revised to allow commercial composting in agricultural zones.

In June, the county Agricultural Commission favorably recommended the revision, which would allow farmers to accept yard waste and compost it into a product resembling potting soil, which they could sell to gardeners and other farmers.

* Recommending the county continue investigating composting methods to dispose of dead animals.

The issue of animal composting was shelved while county officials debate waste disposal methods, including a countywide composting facility.

* Encouraging the adoption of the proposed Carroll County right-to-farm ordinance, which protects farmers from nuisance suits.

County commissioners agreed this week to sponsor hearings and to vote on the proposal before their term ends in December.

On a statewide level, Carroll County Farm Bureau members voted to support establishing a Maryland Milk Commission, which would set minimum prices paid to farmers for raw milk.

The proposal, which was introduced during the 1994 General Assembly, is being considered in the legislative summer study session.

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