Mayhah Suri, Extension Specialist, and Paul Goeringer, Extension Legal Specialist, were awarded a grant by the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board (MGPUB) recently to continue outreach efforts to local officials about agricultural issues.
Suri and Goeringer worked in fall 2019 with an interdisciplinary team of Extension specialists, including Dr. Jon Moyle and Dr. Nicole Fiorellino, to develop and teach an innovative new workshop series for local leaders and officials working on land use and planning issues. Goeringer noticed that right-to-farm and other land use disputes were often reviewed by local officials with limited agricultural experience. The interdisciplinary team developed presentations to introduce this audience to common practices in agriculture, including water use, grain production, poultry production, and basic legal issues.
After a successful series in 2019, which was also supported by MGPUB, Suri and Goeringer applied for additional funds to support a second workshop series in western Maryland. The $5,000 award will be used to develop and deliver workshops for planning, zoning, economic development, and other local officials in western Maryland to gain a basic understanding of what good agricultural practices look like. According to Suri, “Our goal is to come up with a way to reach non-agricultural audience and help them understand what modern agricultural practices look like.” Another goal of the series is to make non-agricultural audiences aware of the educational resources available through University of Maryland Extension and state agencies.
The workshop series is titled, “What’s That Smell: Understanding Modern Agriculture” to encourage audience members to ask questions or bring up any concerns they may have. Workshop dates and locations will be available on the ALEI website in the coming months.