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September 2017 Update

ALEI Supports Student Interns

ALEI continues outreach to the agricultural community with help from some new student faces working on a range of issues. In partnership with the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology, Inc., the Agriculture Law Education Initiative established the 2017 Russell Brinsfield Summer Internship program.

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The inaugural interns, Melissa Stefun and Hannah Catt (pictured above with Russ Brinsfield, PhD), spent their summer working at the Wye Research Center in Queenstown, Maryland.

Stefun, a junior at the University of Maryland, is studying environmental science and technology with an emphasis on soil and watershed science. Upon graduation, she hopes to work in sustainable agriculture or hydrology. Catt, a third-year law student at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, hopes to work on legal issues surrounding food and agriculture after graduation.

The 2017 Brinsfield Interns spent the summer working primarily on a new resource for Maryland’s agricultural community, the Conservation Leasing Guide, a companion document to one of ALEI’s most popular publications, the Agricultural Leasing Guide.  The Conservation Leasing Guide will help landowners and farmers communicate about conservation values and use leases as a tool to implement conservation practices on leased land. The interns also researched the interaction between oyster aquaculture and submerged aquatic vegetation.

ALEI also has a new legal intern at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, Alexander Belman; and a communications intern at the University of Maryland College Park, Sarah Fielder.  Belman is a second-year law student and member of the Maryland Environmental Law and Business Societies who recently used his research and writing skills helping create a farmers market vendor agreement guide which will be published in the coming months.  Fielder is a senior journalism major working with ALEI since September 2016, assisting in compiling news stories and reporting on ALEI’s programs.

ALEI appreciates the work of its student interns and hopes the internship experiences inspire a new generation of agricultural law leaders. Interested in interning for ALEI? Email us at umaglaw@umd.edu.

By Sarah Everhart, Senior Legal Specialist and Research Associate


Third Annual Agriculture and Environmental Law Conference

The Agriculture and Environmental Law Conference is back for a third year of dynamic presenters and discussion topics of interest to the farming, environmental and legal communities. Topics at the November 17, 2017 conference will include: the state of organic farming in Maryland; 2018 Farm Bill and conservation; antibiotic use in livestock production; soil health; hot issues in agriculture and environmental law; and recent developments in nutrient management regulation.

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Unlike other conferences hosted by a single interest group, the Agriculture and Environmental Law Conference brings agricultural, environmental, and legal professionals together to discuss the relevant issues and the network of laws regulating those issues.

The antibiotic panel, for example, will feature State Veterinarian Dr. Michael Radebaugh who will share his experience executing the veterinary feed directive and how it affects animal health. The panel also includes Waterkeepers Chesapeake Executive Director Betsy Nicholas presenting her experience advocating for increased regulations on antibiotic use in livestock production and what the laws mean.  Farmer and Maryland Farm Bureau Government Relations Director Colby Ferguson will discuss his personal experience and a livestock producer complying with antibiotic regulation as well as his experience with the legislative process as a farmer advocate. This panel, like others at the conference, is an opportunity to spark conversations between different stakeholders about how best to protect agriculture and natural resources in Maryland.

The ALEI team hopes the conference will evoke a lively discussion and advance the dialogue about the natural resource protection laws that affect Maryland’s farmers. State lawmakers are invited to attend so that they can hear from the panelists and attendees on these important topics. The conference is geared toward members of the agriculture community, including farmers, agricultural and environmental attorneys, regulators, agriculture professionals, environmental associations, and elected officials.

Nutrient Management Continuing Learning Education Credits are available for attending the conference.

The conference will be held on Friday, November 17th, 2017 from 8 am – 3 pm at the Doubletree Hotel Annapolis, 210 Holiday Ct, Annapolis, MD 21401.

Please visit the conference website for registration information and additional details.

By Mayhah Suri, Faculty Specialist


ALEI Participates in Upcoming Farm Succession Workshops

According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, the average age of principle farm operators in Maryland is 56. Many of these producers have not yet considered the steps needed to pass the farm on to the next generation. With this in mind, ALEI is partnering with the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland Extension, the Maryland Department of Agriculture, and Nationwide Insurance to host a series of one-day farm succession workshops around Maryland during 2017 and 2018.

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The workshops will focus on the farm succession process, including communication, business planning, estate planning basics, and tax basics.

“Beginning the farm succession process can be challenging and full of difficult discussions with family members.  These workshops will provide producers with an overview of the topic and the basic tools to begin the discussion with family members and others active in the farm,” said Paul Goeringer, Extension legal specialist.

“Although we cannot have the hard conversations for the farm families, participants will walk away with the tools they need to start developing a farm succession plan and prepare the next generation to keep the farming operation successful. We actively encourage all generations on the farm to attend one of these workshops.”

The workshops will be held at:

  • Nov. 18: Washington County UME Office
  • Nov. 28: Caroline County 4-H Park
  • Nov. 29: Wicomico County UME Office
  • Jan. 16: Kent County UME Office
  • Jan. 17: Deer Creek Overlook at the Harford County 4-H Camp
  • Jan. 18: TBA Southern MD
  • Jan. 23: TBA Garrett County
  • Jan. 30: Frederick County UME Office

To register contact the county University of Maryland Extension offices. Please email umaglaw@umd.edu for additional details or with questions.

By Paul Goeringer, Extension Legal Specialist &  Mayhah Suri, Faculty Specialist


ALEI Welcomes New Team Members

Over the summer, ALEI welcomed program coordinator Kimberly Johnson and legal specialists Kelly Nuckolls and Nicole Cook to the team. Johnson and Nuckolls work for ALEI in College Park, while Cook is located at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore campus.

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Johnson currently attends the Maryland University of Integrative Health in Laurel, and is earning a master’s in health promotion with a concentration in community health education. “I want to be part of managing some place that works directly with the community and directly supports the community,” said Johnson. Before joining the team, Johnson worked with the community through various positions with local non-profit organizations.

As an undergraduate at Fort Hays State University in Kansas, Nuckolls was not interested in pursuing a career in food and agricultural law.  But “I realized when hosting events there are so many policy changes, and a need for legal officials to help guide,” she said. Nuckolls first heard about ALEI while at the LL.M. program in Agricultural and Food Law at the University of Arkansas. “They (program director Susan Schneider) thought it would be an amazing opportunity for someone who wants to be in food and agricultural law,” said Nuckolls. “There are so many topics ALEI covers, and I like how diverse food and agricultural law can be.” Thus far Nuckolls has focused on projects involving estate planning, succession planning, farm income tax, estate tax, and inheritance tax.

Like Nuckolls, Cook also heard about ALEI from LL.M. Director Schneider while at the University of Arkansas. “She thought I might be interested in the position, and she was right,” said Cook. “It’s really a fantastic opportunity for someone like me who is passionate about all things agriculture because there is the opportunity to learn directly from producers what their needs are and to work to address them in collaboration with all of those important partners.” Cook is focusing her efforts on the needs of growers on the eastern shore, especially small and socially-disadvantaged farmers.

“I changed the focus of my legal practice so I could assist producers with starting, growing, and strengthening their farm businesses in a sustainable way,” said Cook. ALEI welcomes these three dynamic team members on board to help Maryland farm families understand the laws that affect them.

By Sarah Fielder 


ALEI Sponsors Fall 2017 Season of Maryland Farm & Harvest

ALEI is a sponsor of the Maryland Public Television (MPT) program Maryland Farm and Harvest. The show aims to “put a human face on Maryland agriculture, telling the stories of the people who grow our food and fiber.”

Farm & Harvest’s fifth season premieres Wednesday, November 14th and subsequent episodes will air on:

MPT-HD
Tuesdays, 7 pm
Thursdays, 11:30 pm
Sundays, 6 am

MPT2
Fridays, 7:30 pm


Quarterly Update Archive

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