On July 14, the Maryland Department of Agriculture received a $42,500 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to conduct a feasibility study for an animal quarantine facility in proximity to Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport. Such a facility would improve the business climate for inter- national shipments of livestock to and from the mid-Atlantic Region.
“With the nearest quarantine facilities for the export of horses and livestock in New York and Florida, international trade of these animals is inconvenient and represents lost economic opportunity for Maryland farmers and agricultural businesses,” said Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. “This grant will allow us to see if opening a quarantine facility convenient to BWI is practical and advantageous for those doing business in the mid-Atlantic Region.”
In his announcement of his agency’s Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program grants to 25 states, U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner said, “These grants will be used to explore new and innovative approaches to marketing U.S. food and agricultural products and to improve the efficiency and performance of our marketing system.”
The purpose of the feasibility study is to determine if the market will support both the existing quarantine facility in Newburgh, New York and a new facility in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and the Maryland Department of Agriculture are partners in the project. Industry support is certainly there. Cricket Goodall, executive director of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, seconded
the notion that a Maryland facility would likely reduce expenses and expand trade in the horse business.
Officials at Fasig-Tipton, which stages five horses auctions here each year, have also gone on record in favor of the idea. A site close to the airport – like the old trucking yard reportedly under consideration – would help cut transportation costs and attract more consignors, they noted. A quarantine facility would also be an incentive for Fasig-Tipton to stay in Maryland at a time when the company is looking for a bigger auction facility.