; Understanding The Diverse Needs of the Maryland Agriculture Community | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Understanding The Diverse Needs of the Maryland Agriculture Community

Ashley Ellixson, Paul Goeringer, and Sarah Everhart


Agriculture’s total impact on the Maryland economy was $8.25 billion in 2010 accounting for 22,000 jobs. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, Maryland had over 12,000 agriculture operations producing a varied range of agriculture commodities including poultry, dairy, grain, equine, nursery, and greenhouse products to name a few. The poster would highlight the results of the Needs Assessment conducted by University of Maryland’s Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI) in 2013. The assessment provided the legal community with a deeper understanding of the legal needs of the state’s agriculture producers. The assessment consisted of 23 structured interviews and a survey of University of Maryland Extension (UME) agriculture faculty.

The assessment found that legal issues related to environmental regulations, land use, Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) programs, business planning, and marketing and diversification ranked high in concern for the agriculture community in both the interviews and survey. Additionally, geographical differences also made a difference in concern for top legal issues. For example, Maryland’s Eastern Shore found divorce and debt of high importance whereas Southern Maryland found estate planning and business planning of high importance.

The results of the structured interviews and survey provided ALEI with an abundance of information and understanding on the legal issues that impact Maryland’s agricultural community. The information on the poster will also aid attorneys, state agencies, and other groups that work with state agriculture communities in understanding the legal issues producers are currently facing.