By: Tanesha Hankerson and Kimberly Johnson
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) will host a business and legal workshop for farmers on Saturday, March 23, at the Prince George’s County Soil Conservation District in Upper Marlboro, MD. Nicole Cook, the ALEI Legal Specialist at UMES will discuss how to maintain a successful operation while still complying with natural resource protection laws.
“The workshop is a one-stop-shop opportunity for farmers to get a lot of information from a variety of experts who will cover the general business and legal concerns many farmers encounter,” stated UMES Small Farm Outreach Agent, Mandela Jones. “This event will let them know what laws they need to be aware of when operating a farm business.”
Workshop attendees will learn the pros and cons of incorporating their businesses versus becoming a sole proprietorship, in addition to the protections that different business structures can provide farming businesses, the liability risks that accompany farming and strategies for managing those risks.
“Many farmers look to increase their revenue through agritourism and various farm attractions,” said Jones. “This workshop will teach them about risks and liabilities that could be incurred when opening up their farms to visitors and consumers.”
The workshop will provide information on topics that include, but are not limited to, lending or financing, labor and employment issues, taxes, and farm liability. Legal specialists will be in attendance, along with nutrient management advisors, to inform farmers of agricultural practices that aid in sustaining the environment.
Agricultural lenders and representatives from Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit, MARBIDCO, the Small Business Development Center and the Farm Service Agency will be on hand to participate.
The primary goal of the event is to equip farmers with the understanding of business and legal principles associated with managing a farm operation while complying with the complex network of laws and policies protecting the integrity of the state’s food system and environment.
The Business & Legal Considerations for Your Farm Workshop is sponsored by the IFARMS Project and the Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI). Registration costs $15 per person and includes access to all breakout sessions, educational materials and lunch. To register online, visit businessandlegal2019.eventbrite.com.
IFARMS is a grant funded initiative implemented by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Small Farm Program. Its overall goal is to provide access to resources and management solutions that will increase a farmer’s ability to start and maintain successful agricultural businesses. Program deliverables include educational workshops, field demonstrations, and mini bus tours. For more information, visit www.umessmallfarm.com, call 410-651-6070/6693 or email Program Coordinator Berran Rogers email@example.com.
Tanesha Hankerson, Communication and Outreach Specialist, UMES – Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center, 410-651-6196, firstname.lastname@example.org