agriculture

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There was another public forum on the debate over the arrival of mega chicken houses in Wicomico County.

It was held at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center last night by local government leaders.

But WBOC reports that when it was over many critics walked away unsatisfied.

There were representatives from the state departments of health, agriculture and the environment to answer questions from the public.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - More than 120,000 acres of Delaware farmland have been permanently preserved through a state program.

WXDE-FM reports that the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation has been protecting the state's agriculture by ensuring that the farms within the foundation stay farms forever.

The program has purchased farmers' development rights and placed a permanent agricultural conservation easement on the property.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Delaware Department of Agriculture will award more than $300,000 in federal grant funds to farmers who produce and market specialty crops in the state.
 
The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Department announced the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program on Tuesday. Delaware farmers can apply for funds to grow and sell fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Projects may run from one to three years.
 

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Virginia farm is recalling all packages of soybean sprouts distributed in that state and Maryland because of possible contamination by Listeria monocytogenes.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said in a news release Tuesday that Henry's Farm of Woodford was recalling soybean sprouts produced on or after March 1.

The products being recalled are 1-pound bags of soybean sprouts in clear plastic bags labeled "Natto Soybean Sprouts" and 10-pound bags of soybean sprouts in black plastic bags labeled "Soy Bean Sprouts." 

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate has unanimously approved millions of dollars in tax incentives for DuPont following its planned merger with Dow Chemical.

The tax relief legislation cleared the Senate with no debate Thursday and now goes to the House.

The bill eliminates a $5 million aggregate cap on research and development tax credits and makes the credits refundable. It also restores a never-used new jobs tax credit aimed at getting companies to establish corporate headquarters in Delaware.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate is poised to vote on millions of dollars in tax incentives for DuPont following its planned merger with Dow Chemical.

Senate Executive Committee members spoke glowingly of the legislation Wednesday before releasing it for Thursday's floor vote.

The bill eliminates a $5 million aggregate cap on research and development tax credits and makes the credits refundable.

The bill also restores a never-used new jobs tax credit aimed at getting companies to establish corporate headquarters in Delaware.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe says Virginia remains the second-largest exporter of agricultural goods on the East Coast.

The governor says agricultural exports, which include forestry products, declined by 4.7 percent to $3.19 billion in 2015. The previous year's $3.35 billion was an all-time high.

McAuliffe says that despite the decline, Virginia is still solidly in second place in the East behind Georgia, which saw a 15 percent decrease in 2015.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's lieutenant governor is urging federal officials to exclude Virginia from offshore drilling.

In a letter addressed to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Thursday, Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam said offshore drilling has the potential to threaten the environment, defense, agriculture and tourism of the state.

Northam, a Democrat, has announced his plans to run for governor in 2017. In the letter, he cited the "demise of the Chesapeake Bay" and his work toward its restoration as one of the reasons he decided to run for public office.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The U.S. Agriculture Department says the number of farms in Maryland continues to shrink.

The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service in Annapolis says in a statement that the number of farms in Maryland in 2015 is estimated at 12,200. That's 100 fewer than in 2014.

The agency says the numbers have been declining since at least 1959, when the state had nearly 27,600 farms.

The total land in farms decreased by 10,000 acres to about 2.02 million.

The average farm size increased by one acre, to 166.

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As Dow and DuPont merge the agricultural spin will maintain its headquarters in Wilmington.

In addition, the Wilmington News Journal reports that a yet unnamed specialty products company will also locate its headquarters in the Delaware town.

This will keep some high-level executive jobs in the state.

The News Journal reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission says more revenue is expected to come from the two companies than DuPont.

The paper reports that combined the two companies are expected to be valued at $32 billion.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Four Virginia counties have received federal disaster designations for farmers stemming from flooding last fall.

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Thursday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued primary disaster designations for Isle of Wight, Patrick, Southampton and Surry counties.

Nine counties and three cities that border those four counties also were designated as contiguous disaster areas.

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Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder says he expects the Avian flu to hit the state sometime in the fall.

So far, there have been no cases of the disease on Delmarva.

But with the migration of waterfowl from Canada agriculture officials say it’s only a matter of time.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that agriculture secretary said the state was doing everything it could to protect a $1 billion industry.

This includes a ban to take effect August 25th on displaying poultry at all fairs and shows.

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The Delaware Sports Complex which has some nearby residents concerned is set to come up before a council meeting in Middletown.

During today’s meeting the council will look at a conditional use permit request along with preliminary approval of the development plan.

The city owns the 170-acre lot which is zoned for agricultural use.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that local residents say traffic congestion and noise during the evening would impact a nearby housing development of The Estates at Saint Anne’s on the southwest of the city.

 

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Agriculture officials and poultry farmers in Maryland are taking extra precautions against bird flu after outbreaks devastated flocks in other states.
 
The Baltimore Sun reports the Maryland Department of Agriculture has banned the entry of waterfowl in fairs and shows in the state, stepped up testing requirements for poultry and met with emergency-management officials to prepare in case of an outbreak.
 

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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe's administration plans to identify and conserve at least 1,000 properties across Virginia by the end of the governor's term.

McAuliffe announced the Virginia Treasures initiative on Wednesday during a visit to Pocahontas State Park.

Properties considered as treasures include agricultural lands, habitat for rare or threatened plants and animals, trails, scenic byways, rivers and public gardens.

McAuliffe says the goal is conserve land and expand access to public outdoor recreation.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has voted to increase the responsibilities and scope of the state's Commission on Climate Change.

Senators voted 32-14 on Tuesday for the bill, with support and opposition for the legislation falling on Democratic and Republican party lines, respectively.

The bill puts into law the requirements of a 2014 executive order signed by then-Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Within the order is the expansion of the commission's membership, as well as the development of a plan for an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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Governor Larry Hogan has laid out a new phosphorus initiative.

Billed as an enhanced phosphorus management tool the Maryland Governor would give more time for farmers to cut their use of phosphorus and would immediately stop the state’s greatest offenders.

Most farmers would have until 2022 to fully comply with the new regulations.

Hogan’s spokeswoman Erin Montgomery said that 21 percent of farmers on the Lower Shore would feel the immediate impact of the change.

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There’s legislation in the Maryland General Assembly that would urge Congress to do something about the state of the Conowingo Dam.

The dam is blamed for sediment flowing into the bay which contains harmful nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen when the dam floods.

The Maryland Senate resolution wants the Congress to get the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a study on the state of pollution at the dam.

Last November a $1.4 million study found that cutting pollution into the bay would fall mostly only the shoulders of agricultural communities.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Broiler chickens and soybeans are Virginia's biggest agricultural products.

The most recent Census of Agriculture, for 2012, shows broiler chickens topped commodity sales that year. Growers sold about $638 million worth of broiler hens. Soybeans were the top crop with more than $300 million in sales.

Total agricultural product sales exceeded $3.7 billion.

The census also shows there are more than 46,000 farms in Virginia, covering more than 8.3 million acres.

Don Rush

Governor Larry Hogan has pulled the controversial phosphorus regulations on farmers.

They will not appear in the next issue of the Maryland Register essentially freezing any attempt to impose the new standards that found strong opposition from the poultry and agricultural industries on the Eastern Shore.

Erin Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, said that Hogan has ordered all agencies to begin a comprehensive review of all pending regulations.

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Governor Martin O’Malley is going to move forward with the new phosphorus regulations.

An economic study has just been completed showing that the new rules could cost anywhere from $22 million to $50 million depending on the length of time take to implement them.

But the governor said that it’s time to move forward with the solutions endorsed by scientists and experts across the state to improve the health of the bay.

It could take as long as 6 years to implement.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware budget officials are starting to lay the groundwork for developing a budget for next fiscal year.

Budget director Ann Visalli and her staff are beginning meetings this week to hear budget requests from various state agencies.

The meetings begin Wednesday with agency hearings that include the agriculture and economic development departments, and the Department of State.

Don Rush

During a campaign swing through the Eastern Shore Democratic Gubernatorial hopeful Lt. Governor Anthony Brown pledged that if elected he would personally invite Jim Perdue to meet with his administration on environmental regulations.

Perdue has complained that he does not feel that he has a seat at the table when it comes to environmental regulations.

After an appearance on the campus of Salisbury University, Brown was asked about Perdue’s remarks.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Officials in Maryland are accepting nominations for the Governor's Agricultural Hall of Fame.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture says nominations are due Sept. 9. Officials are looking to honor farm families who have dedicated their lives to farming. The families that are selected to be inducted into the hall of fame will be honored during the Taste of Maryland Agriculture on Feb. 5, 2015.

Any farm family that derives its income principally from farming is eligible to be inducted into the hall of fame, which was established in 1991.

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Public opinion polls show Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown with a 20 plus lead over rival Attorney General Doug Gansler in the race for the Democratic gubernatorial primary race with Delegate Heather Mizeur a distance third.  The Attorney General stopped by the studios of Delmarva Public Radio to discuss the race and the issues

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Republican gubernatorial candidate David Craig took a tour through Wicomico County yesterday, and Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush caught up with him to focus on some local issues ranging from the wind farm in Somerset County and environmental issues to economic development in the region.

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Department of Agriculture is urging residents to help reduce the spread of invasive species that pose a threat to agricultural and natural resources.

The agency says April is Invasive Plant, Pest and Disease Awareness Month.

The department says invasive pests often arrive on cargo ships or with people returning from foreign travel. But once here, they can spread due to people's carelessness.

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Representative Andy Harris says if the state does not implement the new phosphorous regulations for the agriculture industry properly he will take action on the federal level.

During a meeting with the Eastern Shore delegation in Annapolis last week the Salisbury Daily Times reports that the Republican congressman said if the new regulations hurt farmers then he will consider with holding money from the state of Maryland.

The phosphorous management tool would alter the way the amount of phosphorous is applied by farmers.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A new census of American agriculture shows that the number of farms in Delaware has declined over the past five years, while the value of crops and livestock they produce has increased.

A report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that the number of farms in Delaware declined from 2,546 in 2007 to 2,457 in 2012.

Don Rush

NEWARK, Del. (AP) - The University of Delaware is saying goodbye to one of its less popular majors in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

WBEL-AM reports that the school is eliminating it agricultural education major.

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Mark Rieger says the major enrolls 11 students or about 1.5 percent of the student body. All students currently enrolled in the major will be able to get their degrees.

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