From the office of Sen. Barry Glassman:
With Maryland’s farmers reeling from two years of new regulatory burdens in Maryland, Northern Harford County Senator Barry Glassman, R-35, introduced Senate Bill 427 which would allow farmers a method to recoup lost value in their agricultural land.
Last year’s Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Act, which was adopted over the opposition of the Maryland Farm Bureau and the Maryland Association of Counties, requires counties to designate tiers for development throughout their counties. The Fourth Tier designation results in a loss of development rights of up to forty-percent. Many farmers view these potential development rights as value in their property which is used for capital borrowing, and in many cases their long term pensions when they face retirement. In addition to this legislation, the Maryland Department of Agriculture also pushed through new nutrient management regulations which severely limit the timing and duration of winter spreading for Maryland farmers, but also included a controversial stream fencing requirement. The regulation requires farmers to fence ten feet on each side of the stream to prevent any livestock watering or gathering near the tributaries. The prospect of fencing meandering streams through a livestock pasture has met with strong opposition. The regulation also requires that the land between the fences be barred from mowing or any other activities which result in it being taken out of income production.
The Senator’s bill sets up a process whereby farmers who are affected by this combination of new actions would be able to have a fair market evaluation of the property prior to the impact of the new regulations, and one after the impact of the completed regulations. The bill would allow the farmer to use the diminution of value as a tax credit against the State income tax for that year, up until the time that the total amount is met. Senator Glassman said, “During the testimony in favor of both of these actions the Department indicated that farmers would see no diminution in value of their property and, in fact, that agricultural land values will continue to rise. If that is the case then I do not suspect that the Legislature or Department will have any objection to moving this legislation as a safety measure.”
The Maryland Farm Bureau is supporting Glassman’s effort. “Farmers from across the State voiced concern over the potential devaluation of their land under the new restrictions,” said Pat Langenfelder, President of the Maryland Farm Bureau. “They were assured there would be no loss to the value of their land. It only makes sense to back up that assurance with a bill like the one Senator Glassman has introduced. If there is no devaluation, there will be no cost to the state.” Langenfelder explained. If there is a loss to landowners, they will be able to recover part of their loss with the tax credit.”
Senator Glassman, who also runs small flock of sheep in Harford County, has indicated that he believes if Maryland continues to place new burdens on animal livestock production that in fact chicken, hog, beef and dairy operations are on a track towards extinction in Maryland.
Glassman’s bill, which is co-sponsored by a bi-partisan group of senators, has not been scheduled for a hearing yet before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.
Senator Glassman is in his second term in the Maryland Senate and served previously as a Harford County Councilman and Maryland State Delegate. If you would like additional information, please feel free to contact Senator Glassman at (410)440-9267.