On Friday and Saturday evenings a little over a week ago, I joined hundreds of farmers, agribusiness people, even legislators united to raise money for Alan and Kristin Hudson’s legal defense in a lawsuit that hopes to write Maryland clean water laws for the Chesapeake Bay by judicial precedent rather than by legislative process. It has been a long time since I’ve seen such an uprising from a normally accepting ag community.
This young Maryland farm family from Berlin, Md., are the victims in a lawsuit spurred by Waterkeeper Alliance and handled by the state-supported University of Maryland Law Clinic – at taxpayer expense. The suit’s aim, I’m told, is intended to bring poultry integrators into dual-responsibility for manure management from their contracted birds under the federal Clean Water Act.
What I saw on that Saturday evening was an awesome display of support from hundreds of farmers, agribusinessmen and legislators from the Chesapeake Bay region. More than 700 people showed up at the Queen Anne’s County barbeque and auction event. Organizers surpassed their $50,000 goal by $56,000!
The night before, about 250 people attended Somerset County’s Bull and Oyster Roast, raising more than $7,500. Proceeds from both events are being donated to Maryland Farm Bureau’s Maryland Family Farmers Legal Defense Fund.
Note: Even Maryland Governor O’Malley is on the Hudson’s side in this heavy-handed mockery of environmental law which crosses the line into mean spiritedness.
Even so, the case is still headed to trial in U.S. District Court of Northern Maryland on April 16 in Baltimore. Stay tuned for more coverage in April’s American Agriculturist issue.
To learn more about this Chesapeake Bay case, visit www.SaveFarmFamilies.org .
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