A bill to help Maryland's troubled dairy industry came back from the dead last week, after a state senate committee voted to kill it in early March. It was revived for several reasons, including:
- the need to give farmers a concession in exchange for new runoff rules they'll face,
- the fact that it's a good fit with Gov. Parris Glendening's "Smart Growth" program to discourage sprawl development in outlying areas, and
- metro-area legislators realized that not going along on this issue might cost them rural support later on bills like the $250-million-plus bailout of Baltimore City's school system.
But now that the bill has been passed, we see a need to monitor its effect on the dairy industry and not assume that all of the problems have been solved in an industry which has lost 25 percent of its farms since 1991 - 82 in the past year alone.