ANNAPOLIS, Md.- Five new agriculture laws go into effect Oct. 1 in Maryland. According to the state Department of Agriculture, the laws impact farmland preservation, invasive plants, veterinary practice regulations, and farm-to-school reporting requirements.
The agriculture-related laws adopted during the 2011 General Assembly Session that take effect Oct. 1 are as follows:
HB 214 – Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation Critical Farms Fund: Allows MALPF to fully implement a statewide Critical Farms Program by finalizing the criteria a property must meet to be considered a "critical farm." As of Oct. 1, MALPF will be authorized to provide interim or emergency financing (if funding is available) for easement acquisitions or fee simple acquisitions of a critical farm. Funding remains discretionary, but the bill also allows MALPF to solicit funds from other sources.
HB 831 – Agriculture - Invasive Plants – Prevention and Control: Requires MDA to establish an Invasive Plants Advisory Committee that will advise the secretary of agriculture on regulations that should be adopted to establish a risk assessment protocol for invasive plants within one year, and establish lists of invasive plants using the protocol within two years.
HB 751 – Agriculture – Jane Lawton Farm to School Program – Reporting: Requires each local educational agency that participates in the Jane Lawton Farm-to-School program (i.e., also known as Homegrown School Lunch Week) to report to MDA by Jan. 1 of each year about the types and amounts of farm products they purchased from Maryland farms.
SB 322 -- State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners - Registered Veterinary Technician: Gives the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners authority to adopt regulations that allow registered veterinary techs to perform certain medical procedures while working under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. Although the law takes effect Oct. 1, the SBVME must amend its current regulations to articulate what those procedures are before a veterinarian can delegate those additional medical-related tasks. The Board's Veterinary Technician Committee is researching other state laws and regulations and will make recommendations for the Board's consideration.
SB 146 -- State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners – Licensing: Permits the SBVME to direct an applicant, veterinarian or veterinary practitioner to submit to a mental or physical exam when the Board has reasonable evidence indicating that an individual is incompetent to practice veterinary medicine.
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