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Commentary: Maryland families need the Farm Bill

A farmer harvests hay in a Carroll County, Maryland field on May 12, 2020. .USDA/FBAC video by Preston Keres.

By Wayne Stafford

The writer is president of Maryland Farm Bureau and owner of Staff-Herd Farms in Cecil County.

In Washington, D.C., where political divisions often define the discourse, there exists a rare point of unity. It’s a point that transcends party lines and can unite both chambers of Congress.

This common ground is the need for the 2023 Farm Bill.

Agriculture is Maryland’s largest commercial industry and is a historical cornerstone of our great state. For generations, our hard-working farmers have selflessly worked to feed and fuel our country, and it’s time for Washington to lend our farmers a helping hand.

As the president of the Maryland Farm Bureau, I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our farmers and fellow Marylanders, united in our call to support this indispensable piece of legislation. As an organization, we have lobbied our members of Congress, created advertising campaigns, and joined a nationwide initiative to get the bill over the finish line this year.

The Farm Bill acts as a lifeline for farm jobs, a safeguard for a reliable food supply, and a key driver of innovation and conservation in agriculture. Moreover, at its core, the Farm Bill is about feeding American families. There is not one Maryland family that this essential bill would not touch.

The agricultural sector is not just a part of our heritage; it’s vital for our economic prosperity. As the state’s largest industry, it supports jobs, drives economic growth, and provides a sturdy foundation for our communities. To ensure that agriculture continues to have a future in Maryland, we need the 2023 Farm Bill.

Earlier this year, Maryland Farm Bureau representatives sat down with our Members of Congress — including a roundtable with Senators Ben Cardin (D) and Chris Van Hollen (D) — to amplify the importance of the 2023 Farm Bill and federal legislation that benefit Maryland farmers. We were encouraged by the conversations we had, and we remain optimistic that our federal representatives understand the importance of the bill. But we can’t get it over the finish line alone.

That’s why we encourage all Marylanders to join us in this vital mission urging Congress to pass the Farm Bill this year. Our campaign relies on the voices of real Marylanders who will be impacted most by inaction from the government.

Let’s ensure everyone has access to our robust, local, and sustainable food supply, so Maryland’s agricultural legacy can live on. Together, we can make a difference for our farms, our communities, our state, and our country.


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Commentary: Maryland families need the Farm Bill