ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan signed a bill Tuesday that establishes a model definition for agritourism in the Land Use article for county governments to adopt through their legislative process as a local ordinance, resolution, law or rule. The definition is not a mandate, but will serve as a reference in state law to help counties regulate their own agritourism activities.

“Agritourism attractions have become an important source of income for many Maryland farmers,” said Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “This bill creates a level playing field for agritourism across the state, and ensures that our family farms have the clarity they need if or when they choose to diversify their farming operations.”

House Bill 252 will help county governments consider agritourism operations as an allowable use in certain zoning districts and define building code requirements for existing farms with agritourism activities. The bill was submitted by the Maryland Department of Agriculture and is based on language developed by the Governor’s Inter-Governmental Commission on Agriculture (GICA). The bill passed both chambers of the General Assembly unanimously with strong support from the agriculture community, county planning offices and state government agencies.

Written testimony for the departmental bill and other bills of interest during the 2018 General Assembly is available on the department’s website.