ALEI hosts an Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference each November. This event attracts agricultural professionals, attorneys, educators, environmentalists, farmers, policymakers, and students to discuss the complex intersection of environmental regulation and agriculture in Maryland. ALEI prides itself on hosting an event that brings farming and conservation experts together in a forum that allows for an exchange of ideas and education for conference attendees on current legal topics of interest.
This year’s conference was held virtually on November 17th, 2021 and November 18th, 2021.
Attendees will receive Agriculture Nutrient Management credits
2021 Virtual Conference
Wednesday, November 17th, 2021
1:00PM – 1:55PM | Environmental Enforcement Actions: New Tools in the Litigation Toolbox?
- Betsy Nicholas, Executive Director, Waterkeepers Chesapeake
- Holly Porter, Executive Director, Delmarva Chicken Association
- Roberta (Bobbie) James, Senior Policy Analyst, Maryland Department of the Environment
Panel description: This panel looked at two bills that passed in the last General Assembly: The Citizen Intervention Bill (HB76/SB334) expands the scope of who has standing to intervene in civil actions brought by the State in state court regarding enforcement of water pollution control or any related discharge permit, effluent limitation, or order issued by Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). The Environmental Enforcement Reporting Act (HB204/SB324) requires MDE to keep — and make accessible to the public — electronic records of enforcement and water pollution data.
2:00 – 2:55PM | Using Legal Education to Increase Equitable Participation in NRCS Conservation Programs
- Dr. Sarah Hirsh, Ag Agent, University of Maryland Extension – Lower Eastern Shore
- Bianca Soto-Gomez, NRCS District Conservationist
- Sarah Everhart, ALEI Senior Legal Specialist
Panel description: This panel will discussed NRCS programs, including common legal considerations when entering NRCS program contracts and benefits of participation, and highlight the UME Cultivating Conservation Program, which will create resources for farmers navigating the application and administration processes.
- Jason Keppler, Watershed Implementation Program Manager, Acting Conservation Grants Program Manager, Maryland Department of Agriculture
- Mark Hoffman, Maryland Director, Chesapeake Bay Commission.
Panel description: This panel focused on the statutory tools created in the 2021 Maryland General Assembly to assist the agricultural sector in reaching the 2025 Chesapeake Bay Clean-up goals. The experts discussed the increase in funding available via the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program, the Clean Water Commerce Act, and more.
Thursday, November 18th, 2021
9:00AM – 9:45AM | Developing Issues in Agricultural and Environmental Law
- Paul Goeringer, Extension Legal Specialist, AREC
Panel Description: Paul highlighted this year’s developing legal issues in agricultural, environmental, and food law from courtroom decisions, law, and policy and let attendees know what issues to watch in 2022
10:00AM – 10:55AM | Keynote Panel | Growing Carbon Credits: Should Maryland Farmers Open a Carbon Banking Account?
Presenters: Dr. Shannon Ferrell, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University.
Panel description: Carbon credits are a growing interest in the agricultural community not only by producers but by landowners. This session highlighted the latest that is being considered on Capitol Hill along with what Marylanders need to take into account currently in the market.
11:00AM – 11:55AM | Strengthening Local Food Systems Through Law and Policy: the Role of Food Policy Councils and the Certified Local Farm Enterprise Program
- Del. Lorig Charkoudian, District 20, Montgomery County
- Karen Fedor, Maryland Department of Agriculture
- Justin Hayes, Assistant Attorney General, Maryland Department of Agriculture
Panel description: Recent Maryland legislation established a local food purchasing requirement – the Certified Local Farm Enterprise Program – and the Maryland Food System Resiliency Council. Panelists discussed what these programs are and how they aim to address supply chain and equity issues in Maryland’s food system.