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O'Malley signs ag-related bills into law

May 20, 2008

ANNAPOLIS - Gov. Martin O'Malley signed into law several agriculture-related bills, most notably a bill to promote state agriculture and farm products in schools. Additionally, he signed bills to enhance local agricultural land preservation.

"Working closely with the General Assembly this session, we passed key legislation to protect our priorities of strengthening our middle class and our small and family owned businesses and farms, providing opportunity for more people, and protecting the health of our citizens and the environment," said O'Malley.

"When our farm businesses are sustainable, the next generation will see farming as a viable career opportunity, and Maryland will preserve its open space and locally-grown food industry."

"We thank Gov. O'Malley, the General Assembly, the farm community and the citizens who pushed for passage of these bills," said Agriculture Secretary Roger L. Richardson. "Their support shows that more people are recognizing how important agriculture and healthy, local food is to their lives."

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"The Maryland State Department of Education supports the efforts to bring the freshest food from Maryland's farmers to schools throughout the state," said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. "This is the opportune time to explore the possibilities of farm fresh produce as we continue to encourage students to adopt healthy living and eating habits."

The following summarizes key agricultural legislation signed into law:

ยท HB 696 and SB 158, which 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. Among other agriculture-related bills signed by O'Malley are four local agricultural land preservation bills for Garrett and Prince George's counties (SB 260/HB 314, HB 1018, and SB 95).

To see a full listing of bills signed by O'Malley, visit www.gov.state.md.us and to see all bills considered by the 2008 General Assembly log onto www.mlis.state.md.us.

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