Updated: March 23, 2023
Starting a Farm Enterprise in Maryland (EBR-2022-0648)
Starting a farm or adding a new farm enterprise can be an enjoyable and attractive business decision. This factsheet lists contacts and resources to explore as you consider a new or expanding farm enterprise. Resources from government agencies and organizations provide production information vital for starting and operating a successful farm business. Author: Shannon Dill; Title: Starting a Farm Enterprise in Maryland (EBR-2022-0648)
Updated: March 15, 2023
Chapter 4: Managing legal risks to grow your urban farm
Chapter 4: Managing legal risks to grow your urban farm is part of the online publication "From Surviving to Thriving: Strategies for Urban Farm Success. Legal risk is associated with many of the day-to-day activities of all types of farms. For example, there are legal ramifications for not repaying an operating loan or failing to use appropriate safety precautions when using pesticides. Marketing agricultural products involves contractual commitments, and human issues associated with agriculture also have legal implications, ranging from employer/employee rules and regulations to inheritance laws. Urban farms can be presented with additional legal challenges because they exist in densely populated areas surrounded by private and commercial neighbors unlikely to be familiar with (or possibly simply intolerant of) the sights, sounds, smells and activities of farming, and because they are typically located in areas that were specifically not set up to support agricultural activities.
Updated: November 1, 2022
Food Processing in Maryland
Are you a specialty food entrepreneur? If so, check out the Food Processing in Maryland module. This invaluable module provides information about how to sell and process food in Maryland. This module will include rules for specific foods and important regulatory information. Our interactive map of Maryland's regulatory environment provides you with location-specific contacts.
Updated: August 10, 2022
Turning Out Your Product: From Food Safety to Marketing, There's a Lot You'll Need to Know
This report breaks down the necessary steps to develop your product and bring it to market in accordance with Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's regulations and recommendations. The author discusses the legal aspects of operating a specialty food processing business in Maryland, including obtaining the necessary license and complying with regulations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. The 30-page report also provides detailed information on the many requirements for business operation, including proper labeling, obtaining UPC codes, working with a co-packer, and acquiring the correct equipment.
Updated: July 27, 2022
Farm Data: Ownership and Protections (FS-1055)
The issue of farm data has been a contentious point of debate with respect to ownership rights and impacts when access rights are misappropriated. One of the leading questions farmers ask deals with the protections provided to farm data. Although no specific laws or precedence exists, the possibility of trade secret is examined and ramifications for damages discussed. Farm management examples are provided to emphasize the potential outcomes of each possible recourse for misappropriating farm data. Authors: Ashley C. Ellixson and Terry Griffin; Title: Farm Data: Ownership and Protections (FS-1055)
Updated: March 31, 2022
Understanding Agricultural Liability: Maryland’s Right-to-Farm Law Can Limit Liability for Maryland Farm, Commercial Fishing, and Seafood Operators (FS-973)
Many individuals moving into agricultural areas in Maryland have no farm backgrounds and little understanding of agricultural operations. The same is true of commercial fishing and seafood operations in Maryland. Once there, the new residents may find the noises, insects, farm equipment on the roads, smells, and other characteristics of agricultural and commercial seafood life unexpected and objectionable. While neighbors should consider working together and developing open lines of communication to find solutions, in some cases, this cooperative approach may not work. In response, Maryland introduced a Right-to-Farm (RTF) law in 1981. All 50 states have RTF laws which typically shield agricultural activities from complaining nonfarm neighbors by limiting the scope of and providing a defense for nuisance actions brought against farms and other agricultural operations. In 2014, Maryland extended these protections to commercial seafood operations and watermen. Understanding Agricultural Liability: Maryland’s Right-to-Farm Law Can Limit Liability for Maryland Farm, Commercial Fishing, and Seafood Operators by Goeringer and Lynch (FS-973, Published 2017) educates producers on the issues associated with Maryland's Right-to-Farm law.
Updated: June 16, 2021
Agencies and Jurisdictions
The purpose of regulations and licensing for food processing. Is to ensure the safety of the food supply and oversee commerce. Food processing standards and regulations vary widely based on the type of food being considered and the scale of the operation.
Updated: June 4, 2021
Lessons from the “Are You Crazy?” Retail Farm Market Bus Tour
For two beautiful days in mid-September, I had the opportunity to join Penn State Extension’s Annual “Are You Crazy?” Retail Farm Market Bus Tour. This year, guided by Penn State Extension Educators, Brian Moyer and Carla Synder, the tour provided participants with an opportunity to visit premier retail farm marketing/agritourism enterprises to see new things, get ideas to use at home, learn from each other, and build a network of contacts.