DCFB meets with Chamber of Commerce
By KEVIN GEORGE
EAST NEW MARKET, Md. — The Dorchester County Farm Bureau and the Dorchester Soil Conservation Department hosted a meet-and-greet in the Atlantic Tractor showroom on Jan. 26, inviting the county’s Chamber of Commerce.
DCFB President William Layton said he was inspired to have the open house because of the frequency of recent news stories that had painted agriculture in an unfavorable light.
“There have been a lot of stories in the newspaper that have been against agriculture, as far as the (Chesapeake) Bay and environmental issues,” he said. “We certainly always put environmental issues first. We live on the land — it supports us, and (this meeting) is a chance for you to get to meet the people who do that.”
The event attracted about 60 people, which is a number Layton said the group was hoping to achieve.
“This was important,” said Allen Nelson, the executive director of Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce. “We are here — appropriately, in an agricultural business — to talk about the industry that is the most important part of our economy, period.”
Nelson illustrated his point by stating that agriculture represents 25 percent of the Eastern Shore’s economy, and that many people underestimate the impact of farming.
“Many people don’t understand how important it is, and how important inter-relationships are to our entire business community,” he said. “Hopefully, what happens here tonight can help spur that conversation and continue it.
“There are a lot of folks on the other side of the Bay who think that food (originates in) Safeway or Giant and comes out of packages, and that farmers and watermen are Public Enemy No. 1, and that we’re all out to pollute the Bay.”
Attendees included Maryland Farm Bureau President Patricia Langenfelder.
There were also attractions such as door prizes and a raffle.
The DSCD had a package that detailed its top priorities and a sample of a conservation plan available to attendees.
“You know better than most that some of the very first environmentalists were farmers,” Nelson told the attendees. “And that’s a story that we’ve just got to continue to tell, and I am honored to help to do some of that tonight.”
Several local farm operations from the county offered a buffet of appetizers that featured their own respective products, such as wine, bison meat, vegetables, salsa and chicken salad — illustrating the wide array of what the county’s agricultural industry has accomplished.
“If it was a different part of the season, we would have a lot more,” Layton said with a smile. “It’s just not the time of year for it.”
There was also a display set up to educate people on the plight of the Hudson family and their expensive legal fight with the Waterkeeper Alliance and the fundraiser dinner for the cause that will be at the 4-H Park in Centreville, Md., on Feb. 18.
It was also announced during the Jan. 26 event that Atlantic Tractor had donated $2,500 to the Hudsons.