September 30, 2011
Have you always assumed that the fields of corn and soybeans in the Ag
Reserve or on the Eastern Shore were heading to the table? Not so.
That corn is largely used for feed as part of the meat production
process. On the Eastern Shore the crops are going to chicken feed.
Here it’s more likely beef.
I’ve always wondered what was going on with the beautiful steel silos
you see in the fields. Now I know. The farmers let the corn and soy
stay on in the field until it dries to a certain moisture content.
Then they harvest it. The corn comes off the cob easily in the
combine’s grinder because it’s dry. Then they haul it to the silo area
where they dry it further to the right moisture level for storage.
Some of it they sell right then but most they store to sell based on
The rains this year have been tough on the farmers, and the drought was too.
Here I am with Drew Stabler, a really solid guy who taught me a lot on
my visit. The guy my age is David Lechlider. He’s an 8th generation
farmer here in the region. If you do the math that’s back to the
We’re looking at the corn coming off the truck into a conveyer and I’m
eating a few kernels while the massive dryer operates over head. The
roasting kernels smell sweet but mild.
All about a half hour from the County Council office building.
September 20, 2011
Today we had another round of discussions about the county’s take home
vehicles. The proliferation of these vehicles and the county’s
inability to properly manage the system has been a running problem for
decades. In 1992 and again in 2001 there were major council initiated
investigations into the problem, finding each time that the county was
failing to collect payments from many employees for their commutes.
The estimate at the time was over $200,000 in lost collections per
year. This year at my request the T/E committee reviewed take home
vehicles again and found the same situation occurring! The
administration has cut the number of take home assigned vehicles by
14% in response and has instituted new procedures to reclaim money
owed to the county going forward. Whether this can really work given
the repeated failures over the years is something I am considering
After the busy day of council work I went to a dinner organized by
Bethesda Green at Chef Tony’s focusing on “farm to table” issues.
With 40% of county land set aside for agricultural uses, we actually
have very little “table food” farming. It’s something we need to