At a time when our federal government is so divided by party and our farmers are being hurt by the trade war, it was great to see both sides of the aisle come together and pass the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, better known as the Farm Bill.
The bill does many wonderful things, including providing permanent funding for farmers markets and local food programs, preserving a conservation program that pays farmers to strengthen conservation efforts on their farms and also expanding farm subsidies to encourage more people to be involved in farming (“3 things the federal farm bill funds besides farming: Chesapeake Bay cleanup, food stamps and renewable energy,” Dec. 13). The bill also legalizes hemp production, which is a roughly $1 billion industry, and secures $300 million in mandatory funding for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. Those are just some of the amazing things this new law offers.
That is why I was enraged after looking at how all the U.S. representatives voted on this legislation and I noticed our representative, Andy Harris, was the only Maryland lawmaker to vote no on this bill. Rep. Harris’ inability to compromise and get legislative goals accomplished for the district led him to vote against a bill that overwhelmingly helps our communities and farmers. As the representative of an Eastern Shore majority Congressional district where farming is one of our biggest industries, it was nothing short of a betrayal that Mr. Harris voted against this bill and a clear sign that this district needs new leadership who will vote with our interests in mind in 2020.
Jared Schablein, Pittsville
The writers is chair of The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus.