ALEI hosts an Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference annually. This event attracts agricultural service providers, attorneys, educators, environmentalists, producers, policymakers, and students to discuss the complex intersection of environmental regulation and agriculture in Maryland. ALEI prides itself on hosting an event that brings agriculture and conservation experts together in a forum that allows for exchanging ideas and education for conference attendees on current legal topics of interest.
This year’s conference will be held in person and virtually on November 16, 2023, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Annapolis. Registration is now available!
Click Here to Register!
7:30 a.m. -8:20 a.m. – Registration and Breakfast
8:20 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – Welcome Remarks by Dr. Moses Kairo, Dean & Professor, School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES)
8:30 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. – Agritourism and Tax Assessment Needs
- Tom Croghan, Owner & Winemaker, The Vineyards at Dodon
- Steuart Pittman, Anne Arundel County Executive
- Kevin Kinnally, Legislative Director, Maryland Association of Counties
For many of Maryland’s farms and agricultural land owners, diversifying their farming operations to include some type of agritourism provides them with a valuable source of revenue that helps keep them on the land and keep the land in agriculture. But some have been surprised by soaring tax assessments on buildings utilized for agritourism. This panel will discuss the issues surrounding the treatment of buildings dedicated to agritourism operations and the path forward.
9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. – “What’s Going on with PFAS Liability?”
- Greg Allen, Environmental Scientist, EPA Chesapeake Bay Program
- Professor Katya Cronin, George Washington University School of Law
Although PFAS has been a topic of environmental and public health concern for several years, recent events related to agricultural operations may cause farmers and other members of the ag community to question how new regulations, laws, and litigation might impact them. Specific concerns for ag and environmental advocates will include potential issues with the application of biosolids as soil amendments (DC Bloom BioSolids & MoCo), whether pesticide applications are a source of further contamination (MDA study due Nov. 2023), and if clean-up costs attach if a farming operation were to discover excessive contamination in their water source or soils (e.g., CERCLA liability).
10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. -Break & Networking
10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – “Exploring a Collaborative Approach to Ag Regulation: Examples From Baltimore County and Baltimore City”
Jessica Armacost, Agricultural Business Development Specialist, Baltimore County Office of Agriculture
Neith Little, Urban Agriculture Extension Educator – Baltimore City, University of Maryland Extension
Andrea Franchini, Program Coordinator and Educator, Extension Program Assistant for Agriculture and Food Systems at University of Maryland Extension
Baltimore City and County span the urban to rural spectrum, with various kinds of agriculture coexisting with and feeding large population centers. Farmers have adopted innovative methods and enterprises, such as agritourism, value-added products, indoor and vertical farming, and urban farming, to adapt to the changing agricultural economy and the pressures of farming in an urbanizing environment. But frequently it is unclear how existing local regulations apply to these innovative farming practices. This panel will discuss how Baltimore County is approaching the task of assessing and redrafting its laws and regulations related to agriculture in both rural and urban zones and will provide examples of common regulatory challenges that growers seeking to start or expand urban ag operations or controlled environment ag often encounter.
11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. – 2023 Ag and Environmental Review and What to Look Out For in 2024
- Paul Goeringer, Senior Faculty Specialist and Extension Specialist, University of Maryland
2023 has seen the law continue to evolve. Paul will focus on the top legal developments that will impact Mid-Atlantic agriculture in the areas of environmental law, Constitutional law, and tort law developments.
11:45 a.m – 11:55 a.m. – Pre-Lunch Address by Vice Dean Deborah Thompson Eisenberg, Maryland Carey Law
11:55 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. -Lunch
12:45 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. – HPAI: How Can We Miss You, If You Won’t Go Away?
- Brook Duer, Staff Attorney, Penn State Law’s Center for Agricultural and Shale Law
- Dr. Jonathan Moyle, Principle Agent and Extension Specialist, University of Maryland Extension
As High Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has moved from pandemic to endemic, what can we learn to better manage poultry operations in the region? Understanding the USDA process, how claims are paid, and how to limit the spread of HPAI are all important. This session will feature a discussion on the Pennsylvania experience with HPAI, the Maryland experience of being on-site of an outbreak, how biosecurity is important in preventing the spread (and limiting potential legal liability), and finally, understanding the USDA process for paying on claims related to HPAI.
1:50 p.m. – 2:05 p.m. – Break & Networking
2:05 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. – Keynote Panel: The Moore Administration, Agriculture and Environment
- Kevin M. Atticks, Maryland Secretary of Agriculture
- Serena C. McIlwain, Maryland Secretary of the Environment
- Joshua Kurtz, Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources
Panel Moderator: Dr. Craig Beyrouty, Dean- College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland College Park
Almost one year after being sworn in as the 63rd Governor of Maryland, what does Governor Wes Moore’s administration envision for the opportunities and challenges presented to Maryland’s agricultural and natural resource-based industries? Join us for an engaging and insightful panel featuring the Secretaries of the Environment, Agriculture, and Natural Resources. Kevin M. Atticks, Secretary of Agriculture; Serena C. McIlwain, Secretary of the Environment; and Joshua Kurtz, Secretary of Natural Resources; will share their perspectives on the intricate balance between sustaining agricultural and natural resource-based industries and preserving our natural environment.
2:50 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Closing Remarks by Dr. Craig Beyrouty, Dean- College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland College Park
To view materials from past conferences, click on the following link: