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Weekly News Update: April 1st, 2016

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

By Mayhah Suri

Watch our for any mischievious livestock today! Photo by Edwin Remsberg

Wicomico County Putting Stricter Zoning Regulations on Chicken Houses As it stands now the zoning regulations in Wicomico County say a poultry house can be no less than 100 ft. away from residential dwellings, which is about a third of a football field. Monday the county council held a special work session to change that. During the work session council members approved a draft that would create setbacks of 400 ft. in A-1 agricultural areas, and a minimum of 500 ft. in designated growth areas. At the edge of those areas a minimum of four rows of trees would need to be installed for aesthetic reasons. Officials say that draft will be used to write new legislation that will still have to go through the approval process. To read the full story go here:

Agricultural Science Bill Passes Maryland House and Senate A bill encouraging every Maryland county to offer an agriculture science curriculum has passed both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly. Del. Mike McKay was one of the lead sponsors of the legislation, which is awaiting Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature. The measure would encourage, but not require, every Maryland county to offer an agricultural science curriculum in their high schools or at a career center. To read the full article click here:

What it Takes to Win a Right-to-Farm Lawsuit Farm Futures recently highlighted the recent Indiana right-to-farm case involving large scale hog operations. The article talks to the attorneys for the farmers and what it takes to win on a right-to-farm case. Although Maryland’s law operates differently, it is still good for you to review to see what is required in these situations. The story is available at

Implications of Bay TMDL Lawsuit John Dillard, friend of the blog, at OFW recently published a column in the Early Spring 2016 issue of the Farm Journal discussing the implications of Bay TMDL decision. For those that remember, the Supreme Court recently decline to hear the case leaving intact a 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding the TMDL. The column highlights some of the possible implications that could arise because of this decision. For those interested in reading the article see,

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Clean Water Act Case This week the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Corps of Engineers v. Hawks. The case involves the issue involves the finality of a decision by the Army Corps of Engineers as to a wetlands being covered by the Clean Water Act. Currently, the Corps views the decision as non-reviewable and one federal court has agreed. Last year, another federal court disagreed with the Corps and allowed a landowner to challenge the decision in federal court. The Supreme Court will decide later this summer on this case. For more information see,

UMD Extension Specialists Join Effort to Innovate in Irrigation The “CONSERVE” Center of Excellence, established with a $10 million, four-year award from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, will be led by Amy Sapkota from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health. Extension Legal Specialists, Paul Goeringer and Ashley Ellixson will unite with other CONSERVE researchers to facilitate the extension and outreach programs through the Mid-Atlantic region. Their work will adapt the research into actual practice, while continuous feedback and evaluations will be gathered from farmers and crop growers that will measure the effectiveness of new water treatment technologies. This information will be used to create high-quality experiential educational programs to teach and train crop growers, agricultural service providers and next generation leaders engaged in sustainable water reuse on food crops. Learn more here:

Right-to-farm Webinar April 4 at Noon Don’t forget to register for the webinar covering right-to-farm laws, what are they, how have the laws been applied by courts, and discussing right-to-farm constitutional amendments. The webinar is free and you can register at

ALEI Newsletter Available The Ag Law Education Initiative, a partner in this blog, released a Quarterly Newsletter last Friday. Check it out to see what all new resources are available, upcoming events, and what ALEI has been up to in the first quarter of 2016. The newsletter is available at

Business Organizations in Ag Webinar The Mid-Atlantic Women in Ag will host a Wednesday Webinar focused on picking a business organization structure for your farm. The webinar will feature Ashley Ellixson and Paul Goeringer. The webinar is on April 13 and you can learn more about this webinar and other webinars at

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