Agriculture Worried About General Assembly Shake-Up

Cecil Whig article (2018-07-24) described how the agricultural community is carefully watching how the November general elections will play out, especially given the loss of several pro-agriculture incumbents during the primary. Maryland Farm Bureau Government Relations Director Colby Ferguson voiced several concerns in the article, noting that while “food is bipartisan” there were now many legislators who had no farms within their district. Ferguson also touched on the loss of several ag-friendly incumbents Senators: Finance Committee Chair Thomas “Mac” Middleton; Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee Chair Joan Carter Conway; and Wayne Norman. From the article:

 “And we lost Wayne Norman. He was a tremendous supporter of agriculture in Cecil County and across the state.” …

Ferguson said the Farm Bureau also had relationships with several high-ranking legislators from urban areas who will no longer be in office because of surprising primary losses. Thomas “Mac” Middleton (D-Charles) and Joan Carter Conway (D-Baltimore City) were some of those powerful incumbents to be unseated.

“(Conway) was not necessarily a voice for the farm community, but she was a moderate and she looked at things fairly,” Ferguson said.

The article also discussed the challenge Maryland’s agriculture and seafood industries were facing due to federal legal requirements on seasonal immigrant workers and the potential benefits composting could bring to agriculture.