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O'Malley tells poultry group of help on way for farmers

April 22, 2008

SALISBURY. Md. - Gov. Martin O'Malley joined more than 900 poultry growers and industry representatives from across the Delmarva Peninsula on Friday at the 52nd annual Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc.'s Booster Banquet to celebrate the industry's accomplishments and to share a vision for a prosperous and an environmentally sustainable future.

"The leadership and accomplishments of each and every member of the poultry industry have made it the success it is today," O'Malley said.

"It is our job to work together to protect our priorities for the benefit of agriculture - to strengthen and grow our middle class families, our family-owned businesses and our family farms; to expand opportunity; and to protect the health of our citizens and the environment for all to enjoy. Together, we will see a stronger poultry industry - one that continues to be economically, environmentally and culturally sustainable for future generations."

During his remarks, O'Malley honored the hard work of the farm families that give the poultry industry its economic strength as well as their efforts to protect the state's natural resources. He focused on working together to move those accomplishments forward.

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O'Malley highlighted a number of laws passed by the General Assembly in recent weeks that will benefit agriculture:

The Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund will provide an additional $25 million to help reduce nonpoint sources of pollution, with most going to help with the cost of on-farm BMPs and cover crops.

· HB 662 funds the Next Generation Farmland Acquisition Program through MARBIDCO to help young farmers acquire their first farms and preserve additional acres of farmland. The bill also enables the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation to make additional farmland protection easement purchases over the next few years through the use of installment purchase agreements.

· HB 140 allows a credit against the Maryland income tax for specified cellulosic ethanol technology research and development expenses paid or incurred by an individual or corporation.

· HB 696 and SB 158 establish the Jane Lawton Farm-to-School Program in the Department of Agriculture to promote state agriculture and farm products to children through school meal and classroom programs. HB 1624 establishes a farmstead cheese program and authorizes the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to issue up to five milk processor-farmstead cheese producer permits under the pilot program.

Members of O'Malley's Cabinet, Agriculture Secretary Roger Richardson, Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson and Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin, also were in attendance.

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