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September 2019 Quarterly Update



September 2019 Update

Michael Marinelli and Victoria Long standing in front of a lake
The Russell Brinsfield Summer Interns Michael Marinelli and Victoria Long worked at the Wye Research and Education Center throughout the summer on legal issues that affect producers.

ALEI Hosts Russell Brinsfield Summer Interns

By: Sarah Everhart

In partnership with the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology, Inc., the Agriculture Law Education Initiative welcomed two interns for the third year of the Russell Brinsfield Summer Internship. Michael Marinelli and Victoria Long (pictured above) worked at the Wye Research and Education Center throughout the summer on legal issues that affect producers.

The Russell Brinsfield internship pairs one undergraduate student studying environmental science/policy and one law student to research legal concerns that affect producers. Michael Marinelli is a rising junior at the University of Maryland, College Park pursuing a double major in Environmental Science & Policy and English. Victoria Long is a rising second year law student at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law.

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Two major research projects the interns worked on this summer were educational reports on Virginia’s Best Management Practice (BMP) tax credit program, and a comparison of oyster aquaculture theft laws between Maryland and other states. The report on Virginia’s BMP tax was presented to the Maryland Department of Agriculture as a possible way to incentivize farmers to implement BMPs and meet phase three watershed implementation plan goals. The oyster aquaculture theft report examined current Maryland laws and compared them to those of other states, and highlighted ways Maryland’s legal framework could be strengthened. The interns submitted and presented their final report to the Aquaculture Coordinating Council.

“I found myself most interested in oyster aquaculture theft because I found the process of comparing Maryland laws to other state laws to be fascinating. I’m glad that the work I am putting into projects like this ideally help make a positive change in people’s lives” said Marinelli.

Another project the interns started was a legal guide to direct marketing for specialty crop producers, which outlines risks and liabilities producers should be aware of when entering into direct marketing relationships.

“I really enjoyed the direct marketing project because I got to use some knowledge I gained in my first year of law school to create an educational guide for people who need it,” Long said.

The interns also researched forest mitigation banking options in Maryland for a different publications and technical studies currently being drafted, and compared Baltimore City’s urban agriculture tax credit to those of other municipalities to see how Baltimore City’s could become more effective.

While working on their research and educational reports, the interns were able to meet with farmers, policy makers, senators, researchers and other stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the whole picture that is agricultural law.

“I am very grateful for the experience of this internship, it was a unique experience with hands-on learning that allowed me to broaden my understanding on certain legal issues that agriculture is faced with, and how to collaboratively address these concerns,” said Long.

Anyone interested in applying for the Russell Brinsfield Internship program may contact Sarah Everhart (severhart@law.umaryland.edu)for more information.



Fifth Annual Agriculture and Environmental Law Conference – Register Today!

By: Margaret Todd

For the fifth year, the Agriculture and Environmental Law Conference will bring agricultural, environmental, and legal professionals together to discuss relevant issues and the network of laws regulating those issues. Topics at the November 14 conference include: land use and liability for urban farmers; developing issues in agricultural and environmental law; diversifying uses on farms with easements from the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation and the Maryland Environmental Trust; local and state roles in siting approval of solar energy facilities; and maintaining neighbor relations when legal issues arise.

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Instead of a keynote speaker, this year’s conference will feature a keynote panel on emerging opportunities in ecosystem trading markets. The panel will feature experts in water, air, and soil quality trading systems. The Nature Conservancy’s Soil Health Strategy Manager Pipa Elias will share her experiences working on soil carbon and water quality standards for the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium; Dr. Lisa Wainger, Research Professor, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science will discuss her relevant research on this subject, Matthew Claggett, Assistant Attorney General at Maryland Department of Environment, will discuss the state rules governing water quality trading and aquaculture; and Maryland Department of Environment’s Assistant Secretary Suzanne Dorsey will share her insights on implementing the various ecosystem trading programs. 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 has worked to ensure the conference evokes a lively discussion and advances the dialogue about the natural resource protection laws affecting Maryland’s farmers. State lawmakers are invited to attend to 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 those attending. Students may attend for free if they bring a valid student identification card.

The conference will be held on Thursday, November 14, 2019 from 8 am – 3 pm at the Crowne Plaza Annapolis, 173 Jennifer Rd, Annapolis, MD 21401. Registration opens at 7:30 am.

For more information or to register, please visit https://go.umd.edu/aleiconf2019registration.


New Workshops for Local Officials on Understanding Modern Agriculture

By: Paul Goeringer

ALEI specialists Paul Goeringer and Mayhah Suri are collaborating with University partners Dr. Nicole Fiorellino and Dr. Jon Moyle on a series of one-day workshops for local officials interested in learning more about developing issues in agriculture that Maryland producers are facing. The meetings will be held at Chesapeake College and the Lower Shore American Job Center.

The “What’s That Smell?” Understanding Modern Agriculture and What Officials Need to Know Workshops will be held September 17, 2019, at the Higher Education Center at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills and on October 10, 2019, at the Lower Shore American Job Center in Salisbury. Each workshop will be from 9 am to 3 pm. Sessions will cover issues associated with poultry production, crop production, and developments with right-to-farm laws.  Workshops are free to attend and lunch is provided.

To register online: https://go.umd.edu/CountyOfficials

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“County officials from zoning and planning to members of the agricultural reconciliation boards can often have a huge impact on farmers in their counties.  These workshops will allow officials and anyone else interested in attending relevant and up-to-date information on practices and issues farmers are currently addressing,” said Mayhah Suri, Extension specialist with the University of Maryland.

These workshops are hosted by the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, the Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture, the Agriculture Law Education Initiative, and the University of Maryland Extension.

The workshop is sponsored by the generous funding from the Maryland Grain Producers’ Utilization Board.


ALEI, UMD and UMES Continue Food Safety Education Partnership with Maryland Department of Agriculture

By: Nicole Cook and Sarah Everhart

Building on the success of years past, ALEI Legal Specialists Sarah Everhart, Carey Law School, and Nicole Cook, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, are again partnering with the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to provide more growers trainings and more education and resources to help Maryland’s farmers comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule (PSR).  To read more about Everhart and Cook’s work last winter to train growers and provide educational webinars about the PSR, see this past issue of the Quarterly Newsletter.  

Over the next year, Everhart and Cook will receive funding from MDA to provide grower trainings and assist MDA with projects providing Maryland’s farmers with the most current and comprehensive food safety information in easy-to-access resources.  Everhart and ALEI Legal Fellow, Margaret Todd, will create a central website with the most recent food safety-related information from MDA, ALEI, UMD and University of Maryland Extension (UME). With new information released continually by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Produce Safety Alliance, and others on food safety rules and regulations, it can be hard to keep track of the most current information.  The website will help users ensure they have the most recent updates from these groups along with additional resources to help farmers comply with the requirements. Everhart and Todd will develop a fact sheet reviewing the differences and similarities between the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification and PSR requirements.

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Cook will develop a Food Safety Plan Template for farms to use that is compliant with the PSR and GAP certification, and another Food Safety Plan Template for farms seeking U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Harmonized or Harmonized Plus certification.  Both templates will give farmers an accessible starting point to create a food safety plan for their farm that meets the requirements of these certification programs.

To prepare for creating the templates, Cook took part in a four-day training in June in Olathe, Kansas, for auditors training to become USDA-licensed Harmonized GAP and Harmonized GAP Plus+ Auditors, a program which has been recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) for technical equivalence.  According to Cook, “The training made me appreciate the hard job auditors have. There is a great deal of information that they have to know about the standards for certification, and they take their job to help ensure the safety of our food supply very seriously.”

Everhart and Cook, along with other certified trainers from MDA and UME, will also be providing more PSR Grower Trainings.  The PSR requires all farms subject to the law to have at least one supervisor or responsible party attend a grower training for certification from the Association of Food and Drug Officials. To receive this certificate, one must attend the entire training and submit the appropriate paperwork to the trainer at the end of the course.

The next grower trainings will be held:

The trainings are from 8AM to 5PM and lunch is provided.  Attendees will learn about identifying microbial risks, practices which reduce or prevent risks, and how to implement produce safety practices on the farm. The trainings cover all the areas of food safety required by the PSR including, but not limited to:

  • Worker health and hygiene,
  • Water quality standards for growing and harvesting produce,
  • Biological soil amendments used for growing produce,
  • Cleaning and sanitizing harvest and post-harvest equipment, and
  • Monitoring and regulating domestic and wild animal intrusions.

Check ALEI’s website at umaglaw.org or MDA’s website at mda.maryland.gov for more information about the trainings and how to register to attend. Anyone with questions about the training may contact Sarah Everhart, 410-458-2475 or severhart@law.umaryland.edu.



Quarterly Update Archive

Agriculture Law Education Initiative September 2019 Quarterly Update

Agriculture Law Education Initiative June 2019 Quarterly Update

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