Annual conference provides the opportunity for networking, educational growth.

October 3, 2022

Do you have trouble keeping up to date with agricultural and environmental laws? Whether you are curious about the upcoming Farm Bill or want to learn more about the growth of the hemp industry, the Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI) is bringing together the experts to discuss these topics and more at this year’s Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference (AELC). The conference, which brings together stakeholders from Maryland's agricultural, conservation, and legal fields, will be held on October 28 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Annapolis, Md. Both in-person and livestream attendance options are available, as well as continuing nutrient management education credit, and registration is free for students.

The AELC is an opportunity for networking, educational growth, and discussing the intricacies of environmental law and agriculture. The conference will begin with a look at how Maryland’s new Partition of Property Act helps families with complex title issues preserve their families’ real property so that it can be passed to the next generation. The law impacts both urban and rural families and helps owners of heirs’ property better protect and manage the land they own.

The next panel will feature scientific and policy experts to discuss the growth of the hemp industry. The last two Farm Bills have opened the door for hemp production in the U.S. However, this relatively new industry is still evolving, and this discussion will center around what we have learned and what still needs to be done to foster hemp production. This work is supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Another morning panel focuses on a new environmental justice (EJ) screening process for permits from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Starting this fall, MDE permit applicants will need to include an EJ score from a new tool in permit applications. This panel will include a demonstration of the EJ tool and legal analysis of how this program will impact Maryland. The final morning panel will cover an overview of the year's most significant agricultural and environmental law issues and an indication of what we can expect in 2023.

The afternoon sessions will kick off with a panel of agricultural policy experts to answer questions and discuss the social and economic implications of the 2023 Farm Bill. The panel discussion will revolve around Farm Production and Conservation; Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs; Rural Development; and Food and Nutrition Security.

The final session will be about Maryland’s Food Waste Law and planned implementation. This panel will also discuss impacts on existing efforts by local governments to promote food waste reductions and administer community programs. The discussion will touch on ways agricultural producers may participate and benefit from food recovery and waste diversion systems.

Registration for the AELC is open and the ALEI conference is a great investment to learn more about current issues impacting agriculture and the environment and can be accessed at Anyone with questions or in need of more information may contact ALEI Program Coordinator Ryan Zimmerman at  or (301-405-1271).