University of Maryland Extension

About Us

In 2011, the Maryland General Assembly directed $250,000 of the University System of Maryland’s appropriations to be used “to leverage State resources to assist farmers in the State with estates and trust issues, compliance with environmental laws, and other matters necessary to preserve family farms.”  To fulfill this mandate three institutions—the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences—have come together to develop a program, entitled the Agricultural Support Initiative (the Initiative) focused on identifying the most pressing legal needs of Maryland farm families and the best manner in which to address those needs.

For the Initiative to identify those most pressing legal needs of Maryland farmers the program has developed a formal assessment process.  This formal assessment process to date has included: six meeting with stakeholder groups, a literature review relating to agricultural law, development of an survey instrument to administer to the Maryland extension faculty, review of programs at other universities which focusing providing legal aid to farmers, formation of an Advisory Panel, creation of a farmer survey instrument to assess famers legal needs, and 23 structured interviews. The valuable information gained through the initial assessment process is only the start to a much larger goal by the Initiative to provide outreach support and services to important external constituencies in Maryland and beyond.

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