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UMD Extension Specialist Leads Legal Component of New Risk Management Education Funded Project Focused on Risk Management Tools for Hemp Producers

Hemp plant research plots at Wye Research and Education Center in Queenstown, MD Image by Edwin Remsberg

By Marta L. Manzano

The Northeast Risk Management Education Center’s Risk Management Education for Producers Underserved by Crop Insurance program recently awarded a $53,000 grant to the University of Maryland (UMD) College Park Extension Specialist Paul Goeringer, who is leading the legal component of an education project developing risk management tools for hemp producers. 

 With the number of U.S. hemp acres quadrupling in 2019 and passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, interest in this crop continues to grow.  The new multi-institutional project, focusing on developing risk management resources for hemp growers, will help fill the information void of risk management tools for hemp growers.  This project will develop guides to understand what to look for in good production contracts for seed, fiber, and CBD hemp production and resources on existing crop insurance tools.

         “With the expansion in hemp production, growers may not always understand the contracts presented to them by processors.  Information is needed to assist these growers in understanding the terms of the contracts and examples of contracts protecting both parties, growers and processors,” explains one of the lead investigators,  Paul Goeringer, senior faculty specialist and Extension legal specialist with the Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics (AREC), and a member of the Agricultural Law Education Initiative (ALEI).   “At the same time, we just have a lack of information on how possible risk management tools, such as crop insurance coverage and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), will work for these growers.  Co-lead investigators at the University of Tennessee and the University of Kentucky will take the lead in that area.”

         By partnering with collaborators in Kentucky and Tennessee, the team hopes to take advantage of the different levels of experience in producing hemp to develop tools that will work for all growers.  The team had expected to hold in-person workshops in Maryland and Tennessee in 2021, but given ongoing restrictions due to COVID-19, the group will offer the programming online next year instead. 

This work is funded by the Northeast Risk Management Center and is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2018-70027-28588.


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