Maryland's deputy secretary of agriculture told the Carroll County Farm Bureau last night that members need to advocate for their industry.
"We need to let the public know that we are the state's largest industry," said Louis Riley, at the Farm Bureau's annual banquet. "No other industry involves more people and touches more people."
The meeting at the Pleasant Valley Fire Hall is when Farm Bureau members vote on their resolutions for the year and elect new officers.
Mr. Riley, who farms 750 acres in Wicomico County, said that as a farmer he understands why the state Department of Agriculture should resist any proposal to merge it with another state agency.
"My livelihood is from that farm on the Eastern Shore," he said. "Secretaries of agriculture and deputies . . . come and go. But the agriculture industry must stay. That's why I want to continue to see it represented."
William Knill, Maryland Farm Bureau president, echoed Mr. Riley's comments.
"A lot of new people will be coming into the national House and Senate," said the Mount Airy farmer. "If you think more of those people will have a background or knowledge of farming, my answer is, no they will not.
"You, as the producers, will have to give up some time and increase your participation for the betterment of your livelihood."
Bob C. Logue was elected vice president last night, replacing Greg Dell. Finksburg dairy farmer Gary Brauning II will remain Farm Bureau president.
The bureau's county resolutions for this year included:
* Opposing legislation that allows public access through private land without the owner's consent or purchase for fair market value.
* Supporting agricultural land preservation through the county's critical farm program or alternate methods, and supporting the county Future of Agriculture Committee's findings.
* Favoring the creation of a county transfer tax on farmland rezoned for development and designation of its revenue for capital improvement projects, continued use of impact fees on new development, and keep ing the county's growth rate within its ability to provide services.
* Encouraging better control of such noxious weeds as thistles, multiflora rose, shattercane and Johnsongrass.
* Working with county commissioners, Extension Service and Agricultural Commission to develop a drop-off site for dead animals.