Maryland General Assembly Votes to Remove Neonics from Retail Shelves
Last week both houses of the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that would ban the sale of neonicotinoids to home gardeners. Also called “neonics,” the General Assembly cited concern over the impacts of these pesticides on honeybee colony collapse. The bill was controversial, as many groups, including Maryland Department of Agriculture, noted that the scientific evidence connecting neonics to honeybee population impacts was limited. Supporters of the bill said that while neonics may not be harmful when used correctly, home gardeners were found to apply the chemical up to 100 times over the recommended amount. Read the story in depth here: http://thedailyrecord.com/2016/04/08/maryland-bees-pesticides-protection/ and here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/blog/bal-bee-advocates-victorious-in-general-assembly-20160407-story.html
Judge Dismisses Syngenta’s Negligence Claims against Grain Handlers
For those following the Syngenta MIR 162 class action litigation, the judge recently dismissed Syngenta’s claims of negligence against a group of grain handlers. Back in Nov. of 2015, Syngenta had filed a complaint alleging that if Syngenta was found negligent in the class action litigation ultimately it should be the grain handlers who should pay. A federal district judge did not agree and found the claims preempted by the U.S. Grain Standards Act (GSA). To learn more about the decision, click here to read the story on agweb.com http://bit.ly/25VH0EW. Click here to read the opinion, http://1.usa.gov/1S547Dn.
Three Ways to Win Over Landlords
Because it is almost the time of year when you have to decide whether or not to terminate your farmland leases, agweb.com has a good story up on 3 ways to win over your landlords. The three ways are 1. Be proactive, 2. Keep records, and 3. Be warm. To learn why these three ways are important, click here to read the story http://www.agweb.com/article/3-ways-to-win-over-your-landlords-naa-ben-potter/. Finally, remember other farm lease information is available on the UME website at http://go.umd.edu/MDAgLease.
USDA Expands Margin Protection Program for Dairy Farmers
USDA will allow dairy producers to update their Margin Protection Program (MPP) production histories when a child, grandchild, or their spouses join the operation. The MPP program is voluntary and is part of the safety net for dairy producers, along with the LGM dairy program. To learn more about the MPP expansion, see http://1.usa.gov/1S6k7Fp.
Howard County Plan to "restore development rights" Divides Farming Community
The county has struggled to adopt a system that is required by a 2012 state law intended to preserve farmland and the Chesapeake Bay. Under the system, counties must carve land into tiers that guide development patterns, from Tier I allowing for the most developed areas with public services, to Tier IV, which is zoned for agriculture and conservation. In a 4-1 vote on Thursday night, the Planning Board rejected the county executive's plan to open for development 2,181 acres of land generally set aside for agricultural conservation. To read the full story click here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ellicott-city/ph-ho-cf-growth-tiers-amendment-0414-20160408-story.html
New Videos Available on CSA, Farm Brewery
ALEI has created new videos on the Maryland farm brewery law and a state-wide CSA survey. You can find them both on ALEI’s Vimeo’s page at: https://vimeo.com/umaglaw
Miss the Recent Right-to-Farm Webinar?
If you missed the recent right-to-farm webinar, a recording is available online. The webinar featured Tiffany Lashmet, Ashley Ellixson, and Paul Goeringer and provided an overview of right-to-farm laws, recent court decisions, and constitutional amendments. The webinar is available at http://go.umd.edu/RTFVid
New Blog Posts
Check out a new blog post discussing the concept of sustainability and how it relates to agriculture; an explainer on managed pollinator protection plans; and the connection between foodborne illness and liability.