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Governor appoints Boniface to represent horse industry on Ag Commission

Bill Boniface has been appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley to serve as one of the five new members to the Maryland Agricultural Commission, an advisory body comprised of representatives from different commodity groups who provide the Agriculture Secretary with information and recommendations on policies and issues facing the agriculture industry. Members serve three-year terms and are eligible to serve two consecutive terms. There are 30 members of the commission, representing poultry, dairy, livestock, nursery, horticulture, field crops, vegetable industry, veterinary, Maryland State Grange, Maryland Farm Bureau, at large ag services, agri business, turf, equine, consumers, organic farming, direct farm marketing, viticulture, agriculture education, tobacco, forestry, aquaculture, food processing, biofuels, and agri-tourism as well as the University System of Maryland. Replacing outgoing equine industry representative Ron Green, Bill Boniface is general manager of the family-owned Bonita Farm, a 400-acre Thoroughbred horse breeding and training operation in Harford County. He is a former president and a current Director Emeritus of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.  He is currently serving on the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Horse Breeders Foundation. In addition, he is the founding Director of Maryland Million Ltd. and is currently serving on the Board of Director’s Executive Committee. Boniface is also a licensed Thoroughbred owner and member of the Maryland Racing Commission’s Maryland Bred Fund Advisory Committee. Bonita Farm recently diversified part of their operation by planting...

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Murder of Sarah Greenhalgh topic for tonight’s CNN Nancy Grace Show

Tonight, at 8 p.m. on CNN, for one hour Nancy Grace and her panel of experts will discuss the July 9 murder of equine photojournalist and Maryland native Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh. Another Maryland native, and a childhood friend of Sarah’s, Liz Bere, will be interviewed in the second half of the show. To the best of our knowledge, no other locals will be interviewed, although there will be regional and national crime specialists as part of tonight’s panel. As far as The Equiery can determine, there is no “new news” regarding the...

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New Maryland Horse Trails Guide

Too late for the July Trails issue of The Equiery, but this just in: The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has launched a directory to Maryland bridle trails that were once railroad lines. The service provides maps, photos, a description plus reviews and ratings. Pretty nifty! The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., whose mission it is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people. Did you know that we have over 2,000 miles of bridle trails? Find out more in the July Equiery, featuring Maryland trails and lands!    To have a free copy mailed to you, call 1-800-244-9580 or e-mail, or pick up a copy at the tack or feed store near year (also carried in some restaurants and grocery stores!) – or check out our digital edition!  ...

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$25,000 in grants available for Maryland horse industry projects

The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) will be accepting grant applications for non-profit research, educational and promotional equine activities, beginning August 1. The board intends to award up to $25,000 in grants that support or develop new opportunities for Maryland’s horse industry. Applications must be received by October 1, 2012.   “The horse industry is a critical component of Maryland’s economy. There are more than 79,000 horses in Maryland, and more than 28,000 citizens are employed in the equine industry,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “The Maryland Horse Industry Board works very hard to stimulate growth and opportunity in Maryland’s equestrian community. This grant program is one way it helps spur needed innovation and encourage those most committed to the industry.” Funding for the MHIB and its grants come from The Maryland Feed Fund, which collects $6 on every ton of horse feed sold in Maryland. It is an effective model for how industry groups can help themselves, without relying on taxpayer dollars. Since the Fund was established in 2002, MHIB has awarded more than $200,000 in grants to nearly 200 projects throughout Maryland. Organizations eligible for MHIB grants include non-profit organizations, clubs and associations, businesses, farms and stables, government entities, schools and educational institutions. Projects will be evaluated for their value to the industry, degree of industry promotion, size and scope of activity, financial need, potential for matching...

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Maryland Estate Tax Reform Bill Now Law

Bill Protects Generational Transfer of Agricultural Property On May 22, 2012, Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance released the following statement on the signing of estate tax reform legislation that would protect the generational transfer of farmland. The legislation (SB294/HB444) Family Farm Preservation Act of 2012, better known as the “estate tax” bill, was proposed by Governor Martin O’Malley and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller. It allows farms valued under $5 million to be passed down from generation to generation without incurring estate taxes, provided that the land stays in agricultural use for at least 10 years. The legislation also reduces the Maryland estate tax rate to 5 percent for qualified agricultural property values over $5 million, down from the current 16 percent. “This new law, long sought after by the agriculture community, will make it easier for farmers to pass down farmland through generations by decreasing the estate tax burden on the owner’s death.  No Marylander should be forced to sell a farm that has been in their family for generations because they cannot afford the tax bill. We thank Governor O’Malley, Senate President Miller, Maryland legislators and all who were involved in the passage of this important legislation that protects our heritage and strengthens our agricultural economy.  When our farm businesses are sustainable, the next generation will see farming as a viable career opportunity, and Maryland will...

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Take the National Equine Industry Survey

All horse people are encouraged to participate in the 2012 AHP Equine Industry Survey. The survey opened March 5 and closes May 15, 2012. The survey is being conducted by the American Horse Publications Association, of which The Equiery is a member. Survey participants will provide feedback on trends in the U.S. equine industry and other information regarding the most important issues facing our industry. The AHP Equine Industry Survey is being sponsored by Kentucky Equine Research, Merck Animal Health, and Pfizer Animal Health. This survey was first conducted in 2009 with the participation of 11,171 horse people, and was largest-ever equine industry survey of hands-on horse industry participants in the United States. With the advances of web publishing and social media, we expect participation to exceed the 2009 level, providing an even more accurate picture of the horse industry in the United States. As in the previous survey, the purpose of the 2012 survey is threefold. The first objective is to obtain information regarding past, present, and expected future participation in the equine industry. The second objective is to identify which issues currently facing the equine industry are perceived as being most critical to those who own, or manage horses. The third objective is to analyze issues pertaining to horse health. In addition to questions on vaccines and deworming, the 2012 survey includes questions relating to nutrition, feed,...

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