The legal resources provided by the University of Maryland Extension offers farmers and individuals within the farming community information on how to manage any and all legal predicaments that they may face.

The Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI) began in 2013 in response to a realization that Maryland’s farm families need more information about the laws that impact their operations. ALEI is comprised of legal specialists and other extension specialists who help farmers understand and comply with state, federal and local laws and regulations.

ALEI legal specialists stay up-to-date on legal issues and educate growers and producers on relevant laws as well as available resources.

ALEI’s resources help farmers identify legal risk and take action to protect the viability of their businesses. When Maryland’s farm families are able to understand and navigate laws that impact them, it benefits their operations, the agricultural food network, and the entire state. 

  • Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI) Website

  • ALEI Publication Library

  • ALEI Blog

One aspect of the resources pertains to how bankruptcy can be used as a risk management tool for a farming operation, allowing family farmers and fishermen to reorganize their operation without risk of total business collapse.

In addition, this site will provide insight on how to work out alternative legal solutions through mediation, as well as guidance for a modified farm succession plan when considering exiting agriculture and passing it on to the next generation.

Most farms in Maryland are sole proprietorships, which can mean personal assets are at risk in hard times. Learn how you can separate farm business and personal finances to reduce your financial risk.

  • Management Tool of Last Resort: Bankruptcy Offers Protections to Qualifying Agricultural Operations and Fishermen to Restructure Business and Survive Tough Economic Times. 

Bankruptcy is often a risk management tool of last resort for a farming operation. For many family farmers and fishermen, the idea of bankruptcy is enough to lose the benefits from avoiding filing in a reasonable time. Chapter 12 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code has made business reorganization and debt repayment a much more streamlined process, allowing family farmers and fishermen to reorganize their operation to avoid total business collapse. Chapter 12 is useful for most farmers and fishermen seeking help under U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to methods for settling disputes outside of the courtroom. ADR can include negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.