Akehurst to MNLA: ‘Our livelihoods depend on the future of the green industry’


Nowhere is it more evident than at the breakfast meeting of the Maryland Nursery and Landscape Association held before the opening of MANTS that "MNLA is a team effort. Together everyone achieves more." In quick succession, reports from the secretary, treasurer, seven advisory groups and several committees, the executive director and the president updated members as they finished eating.
Representing Maryland Farm Bureau, Larry Hemming noted $30,000 had been raised to help the Hudson family in Worcester County which is being sued by an environmentalist group. "If the riverkeepers win," he predicted, "they'll go after farm after farm and it won't be too long before they go after nurseries."
Mark Schlossberg, reporting on the Maryland Green Industry Council, said a lot of new regulations affecting agriculture are coming from Maryland Department of Agriculture, and that the industry should expect to have to do more reporting and perhaps face legislation proposing taxes on services.
Mike Hemming said a meeting was scheduled Jan. 27 to address invasive species. There are two tiers of plants, he said. "The first tier are things we cannot grow any more, and wouldn't want to anyway." For plants in tier two, signs will be needed to warn they can be invasive, depending on the situation.
Carol Holko of MDA added, "We are waiting for legislation to be put through so we can do all this."
Bernie Kohl talked about boxwood blight. "It looks like measles on boxwood," he said. "It typically does not kill mature plants, but makes them unsalable... Conditions are ripe for (the disease) to take off. If you're not sure of plants (coming in), don't co-mingle them with your stock."
The slate of officers and board members from the nominating committee was elected unanimously. Garet Bunting of Bunting’s Landsccaping & Nursery Inc. in Bishopville is the new MNLA president.
Receiving a plaque in appreciation for his service as president, John Akehurst recalled an admonition from Gen. Robert E. Lee to one of his generals, as heard in a movie, to "Hang back." The general replied, "Sir, I cannot lead from behind." Akehurst encouraged MNLA members: "I ask you to step forward. Our livelihoods depend on the future of the green industry in Maryland. I ask you to take MNLA to the next level. Make it the powerhouse the industry needs in its corner."