Opinion: Wes Moore’s six options for Maryland secretary of Agriculture


A view of rolling hills in rural Howard County. Inventory.adobe.com photograph by jonbilous.

By Harry Huntley

The author is the Senior Agriculture Coverage Analyst On the Environmental Coverage Innovation Center the place he develops simpler, cheaper, faster strategies for governments to pay farmers who enhance water extreme quality, and is a supervisor On the Thirty second Road Farmers Market in Baltiextra. He holds levels in economics and agricultural science from the College of Maryland, School Park and has labored for Pretty a Little bit of farms and agricultural organizations On the state and nationwide diploma. He Might be reached at [e-mail protected]

Wes Moore’s foreseeable victory has allowed him and his group An excellent deal of time to develop policy priorities, and his transition group’s Authorities Coverage Committees have already gotten to work on The biggest Method To understand goals Which will fall beneath the Dehalfments of the Environment, Commerce, Education, and extra. However the incoming administration has carried out little to telegraph The biggest method It is going to handle the Dehalfment of Agriculture, and as Josh Kurtz recently famous in Maryland Issues, it’s exhausting To take a place immediately on appointments.

With out public clues as to who the administration is think abouting To steer the dehalfment, all that’s out there is To place out what instructions They might take and why. Under are six decisions for secretary of Agriculture the administration could think about So as from — For my half, With none insider information — most to least probably:

  1. The farmer-politician

The basic selection for Agriculture secretary is a farmer who’s additionally made A popularity for themself as a politician. Current Agriculture Secretary Joseph Bartenfelder match this mould as a former member of The house of Delegates and Baltiextra County Council.

Execs: Some implicit notion with completely different farmers; policy, politicking, And probably supervisorial expertise; An alternative to repay political favors.

Cons: Typically thought-about not a “exact” farmer if their income comes principally from government service; Democrats don’t have A very deep bench On this class.

Examples: First county executive to endorse Moore and Dodon Farms co-proprietor Steuart Pittman (if he’d misplaced reelection); the final full-time farmer to serve Inside the state Senate, Mac Centerton; former state delegate, proprietor of Apotheosis Herb Farm, and Andy Harris challenger Heather Mizeur.

  1. The revolutionary huge-scale farmer

Even without direct political expertise, a properly-related farmer could step into the position of Agriculture secretary. In Moore’s case, he’d in all probability Want to look For somebody particularly forward-considering To present A delicate hand the placeas Looking for new alternatives for the enterprise.

Execs: Lots of quick connections to the agriculture group; direct information of the enterprise; some willingness to take risks.

Cons: Inexpertise with government and policymaking; potential for conflicts of curiosity; exhausting To tug somebody amethod from a worthwhile farm for the doldrums of a desk job.

Examples: CEO of the 13,000-acre Harborview Farms and regenerative farming advocate Trey Hill; pure produce pioneer and proprietor Of 1 Straw Farm Joan Norman; proprietor of Ernst Grain & Livestock and member of the College of Maryland’s School of Agriculture and Natural Assets Dean’s Worldwide Management Council Steve Ernst.

  1. The metropolis farmer

As a Outcome of the Moore-Miller administration seeks To raise beneathserved areas and look to The biggest method forward for manufacturing, It May Want To nominate an Agriculture secretary steeped in metropolis farming. Baltiextra has taken a nationwide lead in organizing metropolis farmers and provides An excellent deal of decisions.

Execs: Brings A mannequin new perspective to the dehalfment; aligns with the Biden administration’s Consider metropolis agriculture; metropolis farms are bodily nearer to Most people Inside the state.

Cons: Urban farming Might be very completely different from most farming Inside the state; Lack of the Agriculture secretary to be The cupboard’s spokesperson on completely different rural factors.

Examples: former operator Of 5 Seeds Farm and current co-Authorities Director of the Farm Alliance of Baltiextra Denzel Mitchell, Fobeneath and Authorities Director of Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm And concrete farming advocate Farmer Chippy.

  1. The agricultural Marylander

Wes Moore is clearly deeply dedicated to illustration of all parts of the state. While rural areas are overrepresented in nationwide politics and arguably have been beneath the Hogan administration, Moore could stability his Rethink Baltiextra — relative to the final administration — with A cupboard member devoted to factors affecting rural Marylanders.

Execs: Might Carry out the chief spokesperson on rural factors.

Cons: Might probably lack of direct beneathstanding of agriculture; unJust like the U.S. Dehalfment of Agriculture, Maryland’s administers comparatively few rural enhancement packages.

Examples: Chair of the Rural Maryland Council Charlotte Davis, Authorities Director of the Maryland Rural Development Company Chris Benzing, Eternally Maryland Program and Coverage Director and Wicomico County Councilmember Josh Hastings.

  1. The agritourist

Agriculture in Maryland doesn’t simply produce greens and grain; it produces expertises. Some exceptionally promatchable farms Inside the state leverage their agriculture operations into agritourism like decide Your private pumpkins, corn mazes, and wine tastings.

Execs: More connection to A huge-differ Of consumers than many Other types of farmers; A singular beneathstanding Of promoteing; represents a rising enterprise.

Cons: Promoting expertises is completely different from most farmers who promote commodities; sometimes Want to be shut-ish to primary inhabitants facilities, so these are principally in central Maryland.

Examples: Definitely one of many Butlers of Butler’s Orcexhausting, Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards co-proprietor and Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Company Director Shelby Watson-Hampton.

  1. The meals methods reformer

Most Marylanders’ interactions with agriculture are by way of meals, and Maryland — Just like the nation — is dealing with an epidemic of food regimen-associated illnesss Similar to weight problems and diabetes that desperately Have to be addressed. Regardless of who leads the Dehalfment of Agriculture, They need to work to holistically enhance the meals system, however appointing a meals system reformer as the lead would ship a dramatic message that meals is the Dehalfment’s prime precedence.

Execs: Likely arrives with a policy background; there are extra eaters Inside the state than farmers; Maryland could be A pacesetter on combating food regimen-associated illness.

Cons: Lack Of information of agricultural manufacturing; advocacy from outdoors government Is usually A very completely different job than reform inside government.

Examples: Former Food Entry and Vitamin Manager On the Baltiextra City Well being Dehalfment JaSina Sensible, Authorities Director of the Montgomery County Food Council and Maryland Food System Resiliency Council Chair Heather Bruskin.

Other decisions:

  • The farm service supplier: Definitely one of many lots of of Marylanders who work with farmers Daily in places like “Conservation Agronomist” or “Agriculture Advertising Expert.”
  • The tutorial: College of Maryland — initially the Maryland Agricultural School — has no scarcity of agricultural expertise, however teachers aren’t On A daily basis good politicians.
  • The policy wonk: Especially being shut to Washington, D.C., Maryland is house to An excellent deal Of mom and father who make their livings on beneathstanding the technocratic particulars of agricultural policy.
  • The disrupter: Someone from outdoors the agriculture enterprise who would radically reshape the dehalfment’s mission, Similar to Moore Authorities Coverage Committee member and Past Meat Board Chair Seth Goldman.

Editor’s Notice: This story was up So far to appropriately decide the winery co-owned by Shelby Watson-Hampton.