Ho­gan, Barten­felder un­veil new seafood mar­ket­ing

Dorchester Star - - Regional - By VIC­TO­RIA WIN­GATE vwingate@ches­pub.com

CAM­BRIDGE — On a visit to the East­ern Shore on Mon­day Feb. 13, Gover­nor Larry Ho­gan and Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Joe Barten­felder stopped by J.M. Clay­ton crab pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity to take a tour and un­veil the new Mary­land’s Best Seafood logo con­cept

Ho­gan spoke in sup­port of House Bill 120, which would trans­fer the seafood and aqua­cul­ture mar­ket­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties from the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources back to the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture.

“We’re go­ing to do every­thing we can to con­tinue to help the Shore, and par­tic­u­larly our seafood in­dustr y, our wa­ter­men and our farm­ers,” Ho­gan said. “There’s a rea­son why there’s a water­man and a farmer on the state seal. We have to re­mind peo­ple of that. Not only is it an im­por­tant part of our econ­omy, but it’s also a part of our her­itage, and it’s crit­i­cal that we main­tain it. ”

Jack Brooks, one of the own­ers of J.M. Clay­ton, said he looks for­ward to work­ing with the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture to mar­ket the in­dus­try that he and his fam­ily have known for such a long time.

“House Bill 120 is a com­mon sense so­lu­tion that has a con­sen­sus of sup­port from the in­dus­try and the state,” Barten­felder said. “Our depart­ment’s mar­ket­ing pro­gram has made great strides in sup­port­ing and pro­mot­ing lo­cal agri­cul­ture prod­ucts, and I am con­fi­dent that we can have the same suc­cess with the state’s seafood and aqua­cul­ture in­dustr y.”

The bill would cre­ate new “Mary­land’s Best Seafood” brand­ing for lo­cally pro­duced prod­ucts. The in­dus­try would also ben­e­fit from es­tab­lished re­la­tion­ships with dis­trib­u­tors, res­tau­rants, gro­cery chains and other in­sti­tu­tions, in ad­di­tion to the depart­ment’s ex­pe­ri­ence in pro­mot­ing prod­ucts to in­ter­na­tional buy­ers through the South­ern United States Trade As­so­ci­a­tion (SUSTA).

Ad­di­tional fund­ing of $190,000 ac­com­pa­nies the bill, which comes from fees col­lected on com­mer­cial wa­ter­men and pro­cess­ing li­censes by the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources. The depart­ment will be able to pur­sue fur­ther fund­ing from USDA and other grants to sup­port the new pro­gram.

“The gover­nor’s pres­ence here to­day shows that he un­der­stands and he’s tak­ing ac­tive steps to help save our in­dus­try,” Cam­bridge Mayor Vic­to­ria Jackson-Stan­ley said. “The seafood in­dus­try mov­ing un­der the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture is a very pos­i­tive step be­cause there is more money avail­able and more at­ten­tion will be paid to the needs of the small farmer and the wa­ter­farmer. I’m grate­ful to him and his staff for mak­ing that change for the good of not just Cam­bridge and Dorch­ester County, but for all wa­ter­men ev­ery­where.”

Jackson-Stan­ley said she is proud that Ho­gan and Barten­felder chose to make this an­nounce­ment in the City of Cam­bridge.

“This bill is an im­por­tant step to­ward rec­og­niz­ing the bond be­tween farm­ers and wa­ter­men,” Ho­gan said. “As Mary­lan­ders, we all know that Mary­land is home to the best seafood, and with a strong mar­ket­ing plan from the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Mary­land will be open to new mar­kets and op­por­tu­ni­ties for our wa­ter­men.”

The House En­vi­ron­ment and Trans­porta­tion Com­mit­tee held a hear­ing on Feb. 8 where the de­part­ments of agri­cul­ture and nat­u­ral re­sources and sev­eral in­dus­try lead­ers tes­ti­fied in sup­port of the bill. There was no op­po­si­tion.

J.M. Clay­ton is the old­est crab pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity in world, founded in 1890 and fam­ily owned for five gen­er­a­tions. It is cur­rently run by broth­ers Jack, Joe, and Bill Brooks and Jack’s son Clay Brooks.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @vic­to­ri­adorstar and on In­sta­gram @dorch­ester.star.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Gov. Larry Ho­gan, cen­ter, presents J.M. Clay­ton Seafood owner Jack Brooks with a procla­ma­tion af­ter unveiling the Mary­land’s Best Seafood Fresh-Lo­cal logo dur­ing a tour of the Cam­bridge busi­ness with Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Joe Barten­felder Mon­day, Feb. 13.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

J.M. Clay­ton Seafood owner Jack Brooks, right, gives Gov. Larry Ho­gan and Cam­bridge Mayor Vic­to­ria Jackson-Stan­ley a tour of the busi­ness along the Cam­bridge water­front Mon­day, Feb. 13.

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