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U.S. Senator Calls Funding of Dodon Farm Vineyards ‘Wasteful’

In his annual "Waste Book," U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) says federal funding to help local wineries should be pulled.

With a heritage that begins in the 1600s, the nine-generation family-owned Vineyard at Dodon Farm is one of the most historic landmarks in all of Davidsonville.

However, a senator from Oklahoma recently labeled the local gem "a waste” of government money.

In his annual “Waste Book,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said vineyards and wineries throughout the nation receive an estimated $1.5 million in federal taxpayer funds to help encourage grape-growing endeavors. Of that $1.5 million, he reported that The Vineyard at Dodon Farm received $299,974, earning the vineyard the No. 46 spot in his waste book.

Included in the book were “loopholes” for professional sports leagues, Moroccan pottery classes encouraged by the U.S. Agency of International Development, and Coburn’s claim that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) spent $300,000 promoting caviar.

Coburn also included other vineyards in Maryland and Virginia, claiming that federal support for local vineyards should be cancelled and go to more “essential projects.”

In August, the Anne Arundel County Council unanimously passed a bill that exempts certain buildings on farmland from adhering to mandated construction codes. The bill hopes to make it easier for farmers to add buildings for vineyards or other revenue bases to encourage growth.

Do you support federal funding of local wineries? What do you think of Coburn’s “Waste Book.” 

Mary Vecellio October 20, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I think the Senator should mind his own business in Oklahoma and leave Davidsonville alone! The monies he doesn't want spent on wineries will probably end up his pocket!
Tricia Stock October 20, 2012 at 11:52 PM
It is hard to look at this objectively when it is a local business you are familiar with but the Senator is correct. In these tough economic times, this simply isn't fair to send money to a winery versus a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. My cut backs at home have involved luxuries like wine. These sorts of reports on pork spending by our government are necessary to keep things in check.
Resident October 21, 2012 at 03:00 PM
The economic, social and environmental health benefits of local, sustainable agriculture are documented in numerous places. Additional, vineyards and viticulture are growth industry (see http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/wellness/fitness-food/story/2012-02-06/Economic-study-Va-wine-industry-growing/52987426/1). Why not encourage this local business, which can potentially create local jobs, tourism and revenue, thus reducing pressure on soup kitchens and charities.
TaxPayer October 21, 2012 at 05:23 PM
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concerned citizen October 22, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Whatever makes anyone think this is beneficial sustainable agriculture? Wiping out hundreds of trees in order to create a monoculture that only benefits the wealthy certainly seems like a waste of government money to me. Lets be realistic, the reason Maryland has never been a powerhouse of vintaculture is that it will take millions of government dollars to market fifth rate plonk. Historically, no one will buys it because it doesn't taste very nice; lets not waste government money on this project!
Davidsonville Resident October 22, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Completely agree with Tricia! In these hard economic times it's time to get realistic. Resident you have odd morals agreeing with these people making a living out of sucking the government dry. Most farmers actually work they don't have time to concentrate on how to get free money!
Resident October 22, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Are you ok with government subsidies to major corporations? Tax breaks for millionaires? Millions of dollars spent on defense contractors? Because THAT's where the real problems are with government waste, fraud and abuse. Here is a small, local operation that could bring jobs and revenue to the area receiving some assistance that is not uncommon for new and emerging areas of business. Picking on your neighbors (and yes, if you live in this area, they are your neighbors) seems petty and unproductive. If you are so interested, why not find out more by asking how the money is being spent? And maybe try a glass of wine? You may find you like the "plonk" (vintaculture is not a word, by the way) better than you think! :) (and by the way, it's not just YOUR tax dollars, they are OUR tax dollars, and some of us approve of the way they are being spent).
Chuck E. October 22, 2012 at 05:11 PM
If it can't survive without government money it should go away. Been there since the 1600's but needs help? If that's the case, it's not a good business. How many vineyard jobs does it take to return 300k in tax revenue back to the feds?
Kelly RN October 23, 2012 at 02:49 AM
This is a small business, the same thing the republicans are saying we need to have to jump start our economy. There could be many reasons they received the money but I would rather see a local business get the money thana large corporation such as corporate farms, but that is another matter. As for local wines-love them. Linganore winery is my absolute favorite.

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