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June 2019 Quarterly Update

 

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June 2019 Update

ALEI Specialist Nicole Cook (L)  and Managing Director Sarah Everhart (R) lead a Produce Safety Rule training in April. Image of two women standing and presenting a slideshow to a group of seated people.
ALEI Legal Specialists Nicole Cook (L)  and Sarah Everhart (R) lead a Produce Safety Rule training in April.

Food Safety Education Partnerships and Foodborne Illness

By: Nicole Cook and Melody Hashemi

The Agriculture Law and Education Initiative (ALEI) mission is to educate and advance the understanding of laws and policies affecting the food system. Along with experts from the University of Maryland (UMD), state and federal agencies (including the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA)), and private service providers, ALEI provides education and resources to Maryland farmers and students about liability stemming from foodborne illness outbreaks. The initiative annually presents at statewide meetings of over 800 farmers and agricultural providers.

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In 2018, ALEI received funding from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program to partner with MDA and the Maryland Department of Health to provide specialized food safety curriculums tailored to agricultural businesses. The trainings provide specific information on what to do and give farmers the opportunity to get questions answered for their particular preventative actions.

Over the winter season, ALEI assisted MDA and UMD with four Produce Safety Rule trainings in Cambridge, Leonardtown, Frederick, and Annapolis.  The Produce Safety Rule is part of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and establishes science-based minimum standards for safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables.

To supplement the grower trainings, ALEI Legal Specialists Nicole Cook and  Sarah Everhart hosted a “First Friday” webinar series in January, February, and March. Following the trainings, the materials were dispersed throughout ALEI’s website and webinars. All three webinars were recorded and are accessible, along with easy-to-read resource materials, on the food safety page of the ALEI website.

Learning and implementing preventive food safety measures is a farmer’s best defense against becoming the source of a foodborne illness outbreak. ALEI aims to equip farmers with the knowledge they need to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks, reduce health risks, and improve the quality of life of Maryland’s agricultural community.

The next Produce Safety Rule training will be at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore on December 4, 2019.

 

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ALEI Designated University of Maryland Signature Program

By: Mayhah Suri

The Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI) was recently named a University of Maryland Extension Signature Program by University of Maryland Extension (UME). The designation includes a monetary award for ALEI members for professional development and program building.

The award recognizes that ALEI is delivering programs meeting the critical needs of Marylanders through research, extension, and scholarship.

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Darren Jarboe, director of Agricultural Programs, University of Maryland Extension, noted, “ALEI is meeting our highest standards.” The award recognizes this high-caliber effort.

ALEI Extension Legal Specialist Paul Goeringer says the Initiative members “hope to use this honor to further grow the program to continue to meet these needs.”

ALEI thanks the award review committee members for this award, as well as former Program Coordinator Kimberly Johnson for her instrumental role in achieving the Signature Program distinction.

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New ALEI Resource for Farmers Market Vendors

By: Sarah Everhart

This spring the Agriculture Law Education Initiative published the Farmers Market Vendor Agreement Legal Guide.  The guide outlines many of the considerations for markets and vendors to review when creating a vendor agreement, and contains model vendor agreement language.

Farmers markets serve as an important source of income for many Maryland farmers, performing the vital function of connecting consumers to farmers. Although such markets vary in structure, all have rules and procedures vendors must follow, typically found in a vendor agreement.  

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Sarah Everhart, ALEI senior legal specialist, observed: “A few years ago, I met with representatives from the Maryland Farmers Market Association (MDFMA).  They described a need for legal education and resources to help market managers and farmer vendors create a mutually beneficial agreement.  With help and guidance from the MDFMA and ALEI student interns, this resource was created to fill that need. We truly hope it benefits folks across the state.”

Examples of provisions highlighted in the guide are the fees a market plans to charge vendors, market standards for products which vendors are permitted to sell, and allocating liability between the market and vendors.

A key feature of the guide is the Model Vendor Agreement, a fillable PDF document which market managers can reference and modify to develop their own legal agreements.

The Farmer’s Market Vendor Agreement Legal Guide can be accessed at http://umaglaw.org/farmers-market-vendor-agreement/.

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ALEI Specialists Gain New Perspective at Spring Conferences

By: Mayhah Suri and Melody Hashemi

This quarter, ALEI specialists traveled the country and the world to share ALEI work with peers and the broader agricultural community.

Mayhah Suri, Extension Specialist, presented a workshop on farm succession in Maryland at the National Extension Risk Management Education Conference in Louisville, Kentucky in early April. The annual conference aims to help extension professionals guide agricultural producers and their families towards successful risk management.

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Suri’s workshop was a review of the farm succession work of ALEI specialists in Maryland. Farm succession is a key issue in agriculture as farmers age out of being primary operators on the farm. The workshop included an analysis of participant survey results and suggestions for extension professionals who are doing succession planning in their own states. Suri noted this conference was a “unique opportunity to hear from peers around the nation about their extension efforts and learn about new ways to deliver extension materials to Maryland farmers.”

In March, Legal Specialist Paul Goeringer presented a poster at the International Farm Management Association Congress in Tasmania, Australia. Conference members learned about different farm businesses and strategies, and networked with faculty from across the world who study farm managements.

Goeringer shared his research on legal defenses and their impact on agricultural development. He also had the chance to visit local farms to gain an understanding of farming similarities and differences in this regions.

One tour showed farmers going through the process of farm succession, a major issue for U.S. farmers and a main focus of ALEI research.  “All of the farmers had plans to implement in getting the next generation in control, and all the plans seemed to currently be working well, but I would be curious to see in a few years if they had to modify based on changes on the ground,” Goeringer said.  “It was a good experience to go out and see these different operations.”

 

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Quarterly Update Archive

Agriculture Law Education Initiative March 2019 Quarterly Update

Agriculture Law Education Initiative December 2018 Quarterly Update 

Agriculture Law Education Initiative September 2018 Quarterly Update 

Agriculture Law Education Initiative June 2018 Quarterly Update 

Agriculture Law Education Initiative March 2018 Quarterly Update

Agriculture Law Education Initiative December 2017 Quarterly Update 

Agriculture Law Education Initiative September 2017 Quarterly Update 

Agriculture Law Education Initiative June 2017 Quarterly Update 

Agriculture Law Education Initiative March 2017 Quarterly Update 

Agriculture Law Education Initiative December 2016 Quarterly Update

Agriculture Law Education Initiative September 2016 Quarterly Update

Agriculture Law Education Initiative June 2016 Quarterly Update

Agriculture Law Education Initiative March 2016 Quarterly Update

Agriculture Law Education Initiative November 2015 Quarterly Update

Agriculture Law Education Initiative July 2015 Quarterly Update

Agriculture Law Education Initiative June 2014 Quarterly Update

Agriculture Law Education Initiative March 2014 Quarterly Update