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Weekly News Update: January 29th Edition

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

By Mayhah Suri

Serene shot of Montana by Edwin Remsberg

Are You Ready? The Farm Tax Man Cometh “A lot of tax code is written specifically for farmers,” says CPA Andy McCarty, who specializes in agricultural accounting in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. “It’s one of the ways our government tries to make food affordable.” But not every tax preparer grasps the finer points of Publication 225, the Farmer’s Tax Guide, and Form 1040, Schedule F, Profit or Loss From Farming. McCarty advises working with an agency that truly understands farm taxes, preferably one affiliated with Farm Credit, a network of government-sponsored financial-services institutions. Alternatively, your local cooperative extension can steer you toward an expert. To read the full story, click here:

Litigation and Lawsuits Over Sex-Semen Technology and Patents Could Affect Dairymen The beef against Sexing Technologies is its dominance of the market obtained by patents and contracts. Genus Plc’s ABS Global of Wisconsin, a stud company that wants to enter the sex-sorting business, filed an antitrust lawsuit in 2014 accusing Sexing Technologies of monopolizing the market. That case goes to trial in August. ABS is also in a fight at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with Sexing Technologies over the validity of each others’ patents. Meanwhile, a trial started Monday in Denver involving Trans Ova Genetics, an Iowa company. It is being sued by a company Sexing Technologies bought, XY LLC, for breach of contract and patent infringement. To read the full story visit

Frederick County Approves Proposed Solar Farm Despite Ban This week, the Frederick County Board of Zoning Appeals considered proposals for three solar arrays this week and approved the largest proposal: a 20 megawatt array that would become the largest solar farm in the county. Earlier in the month, County Executive Jan Gardner signed an executive action imposing a six-month ban on applications for solar farms. Residential solar arrays and those three proposals are exempt from the ban. Some residents spoke out against the solar farms, arguing that the arrays would compromise their views and change the character of the agricultural areas. Proponents of the solar farms cited the benefits to the environment and emphasized that the soil will remain fertile should the solar arrays be taken down. For full coverage of this issue, please visit:

Morgan State University Receives $150,000 Grant for Aquaculture Project In an effort to grow Maryland aquaculture, Morgan State University has received a $150,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Commerce to produce oyster larvae and spat for Maryland oyster farmers at a hatchery operated by Morgan’s Patuxent Aquatic and Environmental Research Laboratory. The grant will be used to restart production at the hatchery to support Maryland’s oyster industry in the short term and potentially to create commercial hatcheries in the state in the long term. More information about the project can be found here:

Maryland Secretaries of Agriculture and Environment Meet with Annapolis Lawmakers At meetings with the House Transportation and Environment Committee as well as the House Rural Caucus, Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joseph Bartenfelder said one of the top priorities for 2016 is preventing avian Flu. Bartenfelder said his office has participated in drills and had drafted a declaration of emergency in case avian flu comes to Maryland chickens. He said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s regional veterinarian called Maryland’s preparations “lightyears ahead” of midwestern states. Several legislators from the rural caucus said regulations and permitting requirements are slowing down farmers in their districts. Bartenfelder and Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles said part of the problem is not having enough manpower to speed up processing permit requests, and some regulations need to be streamlined and scaled back. For full coverage of the meeting, please visit:

New Government Relations Director Named at Maryland Department of Agriculture Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder has named Caroline County native Matthew Teffeau as the department’s new director of government relations. Teffeau joins the Department of Agriculture after working for with Maryland Farm Bureau and the state and federal legislative bodies. As director of government relations, Teffeau will be responsible for all aspects of the department’s state, local and federal legislative activities. For more information, visit

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