At its October 29 meeting, the Governor’s Intergovernmental Commission on Agriculture (GICA) discussed ongoing challenges facing agriculture in the State and ways that GICA can collaborate with the counties to solve these issues. MACo representatives at the meeting included Carroll County Commissioner Robin Frazier (who is one of MACo’s GICA members) and Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp.
As previously reported by Conduit Street, GICA conducted a survey earlier this year on farmers’ experiences with county government and county responsiveness to agricultural concerns. The respondents cited land use zoning and permit issues and health permit issues as their two main areas of concern. Maryland Department of Agriculture Earl (Buddy) Hance has previously met with county planners to discuss the survey findings and plans to meet with county environmental health directors later in November.
GICA has decided to follow-up on the Secretary’s meetings by requesting that relevant county officials meet with GICA members to discuss creating a more uniform definition of agriculture and addressing food and sanitation issues. Several GICA members considered whether a single State law defining agriculture was better but other members acknowledged the importance of local zoning authority and stressed the need to work cooperatively with county governments.