Letters to the Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 20, 2005

Harford leaders promote agriculture

I would like to thank Dan O'Neill for his Nov. 3 letter "Permit issue is a `non-problem,'" which identifies challenges facing the agricultural industry and recognizes county government efforts to "preserve our farmland and promote agriculture."

Harford County has aggressively promoted the agriculture industry. Nearly 40,000 of the county's 92,000 agricultural acres have been preserved since the inception of the county's highly praised land preservation campaign. Harford ranks eighth in the nation in terms of preserved acres of agricultural land, according to Bowers Publishing's Farmland Report. Harford was the second county in Maryland to launch an agricultural economic development program. The county was a pioneer in online agricultural industry promotion. Its "Electronic Farm," a Web site that markets local farms, products and events at no cost, provides comprehensive information to thousands of online visitors annually.

In 2004, the county was internationally recognized for the development of the Harford County Agricultural Marketing Cooperative, an unprecedented enterprise that provides grants to encourage innovation and enhance economic vitality. With the county's support, "agri-tourism" events, including annual Farm Visitation Day, Seasonal Twilight Markets and National Ag Week, have attracted record crowds. To date there are few Maryland counties that have not adopted elements of Harford's exemplary agriculture program.

Members of the agricultural community work closely with the county administration to provide farmers with the flexibility and tools necessary to diversify the industry and enhance income potentials. Their commendable efforts continue to focus on advancing the agricultural industry and land preservation progress, and overcoming existing industry challenges. I, too, look forward to putting this "non-problem" behind us.

C. John Sullivan III

Harford County agricultural coordinator

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