Local farmers must become active in legislative matters or risk losing many of the rights they now enjoy, Farm Bureau officials told the trade group's membership last night.
"The fact that we have to promote right-to-farm legislation indicates the shaving that is taking place," said C. William Knill, Maryland State Farm Bureau president, at the annual dinner meeting.
"When things are taken away a little at a time, it's hard to determine the entire effect."
Right-to-farm legislation, already adopted in Howard County, protects farmers from nuisance suits concerning such standard farming practices as noise from running machinery early in the mornings or dust from agricultural vehicles on farm lanes.
Several Carroll County agricultural groups are proposing such legislation and have suggested that prospective residents be informed about what they might encounter if they move into an area with active farming.
Mr. Knill, a Mount Airy farmer, told fellow Farm Bureau members they also should be actively concerned about how federal and local politicians view agriculture, farming's position in the new world economy, and the influence of environmental and animal rights groups on farming.
"I see a common thread throughout agriculture, and Carroll County is no different," he said. "That is a lack of participation in Farm Bureau, your trade organization.
"We don't trust other people to do things on our farm that will affect one growing season. Yet, we don't seem to care about things that will not only affect us now, but will affect our future."
In other business, Farm Bureau members approved several county, state and national resolutions. The 12 county resolutions will be sent to the Carroll County Board of Commissioners. The rest will go to the Maryland Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Most county resolutions adopted were identical to those approved last year. But four of them were amended this year to include encouraging the county commissioners to find new uses for recycled materials, to explore composting as a method of disposing of dead farm animals and to pass a right-to-farm ordinance in Carroll County.
Members also urged county school officials not to make any changes in the current 180-day school year. Farm Bureau board members have said year-round school would negatively affect their children, who work on family farms.