As our State Seal reflects, our region's history and traditions are deeply rooted in agriculture and fishing. Family farmers and watermen helped build communities across the Lower Eastern Shore, but their numbers are dwindling as it becomes more challenging to make a living in the fields and on the water. That's why Jim Mathias is working to promote agriculture, support watermen, and to preserve our rural heritage.
Jim helped secure tax relief for Maryland's family farmers. He voted to extend the Homestead Property Tax Credit to agricultural ownership entities, which reduced the tax burden on family corporations. He helped reform Maryland's estate tax to protect family farms by allowing the deferral of estate tax payments on agricultural land. Jim supports additional tax reform to protect family farmers.
Jim supported responsible state investments in agricultural land preservation. He voted to invest an additional $5 million in the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Fund for the purchase of agricultural preservation easements to ensure that farmland remains in use for farming.
Jim co-sponsored successful legislation to establish the Maryland Dairy Farmer Emergency Trust Fund to provide financial assistance to dairy farmers during times of economic hardship as a result of depressed milk prices. He also voted to encourage the sale of farm products grown in the state to Maryland schools.
Jim understands that we have to fight to protect our quality of life on the Lower Eastern Shore by balancing environmental preservation with the needs of our farming community. He supported smart investments in agricultural land preservation, and he stood up to urban and suburban legislators who targeted small farmers and the poultry industry with onerous regulations. In the Senate, he will continue to be a voice for family farmers and watermen.