Updated: May 27, 2021
By R. Huffert , Paul Goeringer , Shannon Dill , Teresa McCoy , and Chenzi Wang

Annual Agronomy Day 2017 Summary

Since 2013, the University of Maryland Extension has provided outreach and education through the Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI). ALEI is a collaboration of the Francis King Carey School of Law at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB); the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP); and the School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). ALEI is an initiative of the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State, a collaboration between UMB and UMCP.

In order to provide the most current education and research, the University of Maryland Extension provides winter agronomy meetings for Maryland farmers, crop advisors, and agriculture professionals. Farmers from the Lower Eastern Shore to Western Maryland participate in annual winter agronomy meetings to increase crop production knowledge, meet regulatory requirements, and improve production practices. During the Winter Agronomy Meetings in 2017, the University of Maryland Extension (UME) conducted a survey of legal issues facing farmers and the need for legal education. These sessions drew 611 farmers, with over 88% of the participants residing in the state of Maryland. Of those attending from Maryland, 54% have been farming for more than 30 years, with the average farmer tilling 101–500 acres.

Over 60% of the participants from Maryland report that agriculture regulations affect farm business operations to a high degree. This finding supports UME’s goal of implementing and expanding agricultural law education programs. Agronomy meeting participants were asked how important they believed these education programs are for farm operations. Of the participants, 53% reported that agricultural law education programs are important to farm operations, with an additional 34% of farmers listing these programs as very important.

When asked which law topics concern farm operations the most, participants in Maryland said: environmental (15%), business liability (13%), land use/property rights (13%), farm succession/estate planning (11%), labor (8%), and food safety (8%). As a result of agricultural law education programs, 60% of the attending participants reported increased knowledge of agriculture law topics, indicating that the program will benefit their farming operations.

We offer a special thank you to Maryland respondents and to our agricultural law education team for delivering timely and relevant information to agricultural producers for the past five years.