KCFB floats proposal to keep Hance from podium
By BRUCE HOTCHKISS
CHESTERTOWN, Md. (Oct. 30, 2012) — A recommendation which, if approved, would deny Maryland Agriculture Secretary Earl “Buddy” Hance the opportunity to address the 97th annual meeting of the Maryland Farm Bureau, has emerged from a recent meeting of the Kent County Farm Bureau.
The recommendation has been forwarded to the Maryland Farm Bureau’s directors for their consideration at a meeting slated for Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Kara Morris, who is in her third year as president of the Kent County Farm Bureau, said the admittedly unusual proposal resulted from “frustration” with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, particularly in the wake of the new nutrient management regulations.
The recommendation is “a preliminary step,” said Morris, “but it’s a start. We want to get it done.”
Official spokespersons for both MDA and MFB declined to comment.
The county meeting was held Oct. 11.
Its principal mission was to formulate policy resolutions which the county Farm Bureau hopes to get approved by the MFB directors and then brought to the floor of the Dec. 2-4 convention at the Clarion Fountainebleau Hotel in Ocean City, Md.
Although every member of the county Farm Bureau was invited to attend, only 10 showed up, Morris said — seven members of the county board and three active Farm Bureau members. Perhaps aware that she would be queried about the recommendation, Morris had prepared a statement. It read in part:
“Every organization has a process which they must go through when they wish to make a change. At the annual (policy) meeting of Kent County Farm Bureau held Thursday, Oct.11, the membership present voted to send forth a recommendation to the Maryland Farm Bureau Board of Directors stating we do not wish for the Maryland Department of Agriculture to be given the floor to speak at the annual convention of Maryland Farm Bureau.
”This is a preliminary step we have taken to make a change. I will present this recommendation to the Maryland Farm Bureau board at the November meeting at which time they will make a decision on this recommendation.”
The Kent County Farm Bureau president continued: “The justification for this action was frustration with the Maryland Department of Agriculture in regards to many issues but most recently the nutrient management regulations which went into effect Oct. 15.
“Many members of the agriculture community were present at the public listening sessions held throughout the state to express concerns.
“This action we took was an expression of our frustration that these regulations were placed into effect with no changes.”
Traditionally, the secretary of agriculture presents one of the key addresses of the annual MFB convention.
It should be noted, too, that Hance is the immediate past president of Maryland Farm Bureau.