FRUITLAND, Md – Today the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce held a general membership luncheon where they were joined by the Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse, who addressed members and took questions.

Among other topics, Secretary Scuse spoke about the importance of the partnership between Maryland and Delaware’s respective departments of agriculture. In painting their picture of collaboration Secretary Scuse used the examples of the outbreaks of Avian Influenza in 2004 and 2022 as an example of the states’ partnership.

“Maryland actually had staff come into the Delaware Department of Agriculture. We made room for them…there are no state lines. Even with the companies, there are no state lines. We work together as one. Both states have labs. We do the testing criss-crossing state lines,” said Secretary Scuse.

Michelle Wright, with Wright’s market in Mardela Springs, has seen it firsthand, and not always in response to negative situations: “It isn’t always about issues of putting out fires. They work very closely on finding positive things that will help agriculture and help the local communities.”

Another major topic of discussion was agritourism and educational outreach in general. Wright, who has another event at a school scheduled in two weeks, said, “I was actually at a school at Northwestern this morning talking to kids about strawberries and different things that we grow, and how it’s grown on a farm. How it gets to their table.”

When speaking of educational tools, it soften assumed that they are being geared toward children, but everyone in the room agreed that it’s not just kids who need to learn more about farming. “I really, really wish that more legislators would get educated about the issues before they try to implement things that are going to have a huge impact,” said Wright.

On the importance of preserving farmland, Wright echoed Secretary Scuse, saying that there is a balance to be struck between best-practice and over-regulation.

Farmers just want to farm. They don’t wanna be regulated, but they don’t mind following rules. To me, they’re the true environmentalists. They have to take care of their land.

When asked about the issue of solar farms replacing agricultural land on Delmarva, Secretary Scuse did not mince words, saying that in his opinion, it is “one of the worst things to ever happen to farmland.”

The Secretary also praised Maryland’s MARBIDCO program, which assists small and mid-sized farms through targeted financial services.

Categories: Delaware, Local News, Maryland, Top Stories

Tags: agritourism, department of agriculture, MARBIDCO, Michael Scuse, Michelle Wright, salisbury area chamber of commerce, solar farms, wrights market



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