The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce November General Membership luncheon featured Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joseph Bartenfelder. The luncheon was held on Thursday, November 18th in the Assembly Hall on the campus of Salisbury University.
Secretary Bartenfelder and his family have been Maryland farmers since 1903, farming their Baltimore County farmstead. He continues as a full-time farmer in addition to his duties as the State Agriculture Secretary.
Secretary Bartenfelder commented on the impacts the Covid-19 pandemic has had on Maryland’s farmers and the state economy. “The state and national food distribution network changed due to Covid, it was turned upside down with consumers buying their groceries at stores while the demand for restaurant deliveries nosedived.”
Barternfelders department also worked closely with the agriculture industry to aid in getting fresh foods to underserved communities adversely impacted by job losses, a flailing economy, and food insecurity.
“Thank you to Perdue Farms, Mountaire Farms, and Amick Farms for their efforts in getting donated poultry into the hands of needy families during the worst of the pandemic.” “They are all great companies and stepped up when called upon,” he added.
As we move forward into 2022 the cost to farm continues to go up, Bartenfelder lamented, “When petroleum prices rise it really impacts farmers and their products, they just aren’t able to raise prices to cover all of these additional costs to farm. Farmers will have to be even more efficient and frugal than they already are to keep operating in this economy.”
On the topic of the emerging help industry, Bartenfelder shared with the audience what he has told some Maryland farmers, “Be careful, right now hemp is about the oil, it may not be the silver bullet it is being touted as for our farmers.”
The January General Membership will be at the Cambria Hotel in Ocean City Maryland on January 20, 2022 at 11:30 AM and will feature Andrew Griffin, VP of Government Affairs for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. Griffin will provide an in-depth overview of the 2022 Maryland General Assembly Session. Visit www.salisburyarea.com to register.