- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
As a farmer, I take offense to the letter written by Charles County Commissioner Ken Robinson [“County is making a concrete commitment to farmers,” Maryland Independent, Jan. 25]. I see his letter as a thinly veiled threat against the farming community.
Yes, farmers do receive a lower tax rate on agricultural land, but the lower rate is not a free gift from the county. Farmers earn it. All farm land assessed and taxed as farmland gets visited and inspected by the state tax assessor to ensure that the farmland is actually farmed and maintained as a farm. In order to maintain farmland as farmland, farms requires a high level of personal commitment, labor, expense and, yes, financial risk.
Farming is a full-time job with long hours and relatively low wages. This is not spin; it is simply the truth.
Assessing farmland at a lower agriculture land rate is not unique to Charles County. It occurs everywhere across our nation and is based on facts. It is not welfare to the farmers. The reason for the lower tax rate is that farmland does not require the high level of government services that the same amount of land in a town or urban area does.
Commissioner Robinson stated that he was told that the assessed value of farmland is used as collateral. No, this is incorrect. The fair market value (not the assessed value) is used as collateral when applying for loans.
When Commissioner Robinson aligns himself with those who would decrease the fair market value of farmland by increased and unfair regulations such as the septic bill, he is not helping farmers. Rather, he is hurting farmers.
The tier maps proposed by the county planning commission are not helpful to farmers or the future of farming. That is truth and fact, not spin.
David Lines, La Plata