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Weekly News Update, May 15th Edition

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

Farmland (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).

It is fitting this news post was scheduled for me this week (which is also by pure accident), but 1 year ago this week I launched this blog to cover issues I was working on in my Extension program (farm policy/crop insurance, ag law, and anything else I feel about writing about) with the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Over the past year, we have grown first adding Ashley on, then Sarah and Wele, and now Hannah. Hopefully the site will continue to grow in year 2 to cover more ag issues important to Maryland. Thank you all for reading, visiting, and sharing posts on the site. On that note, lets talk about some news.

New Videos Online: We added new videos covering premise liability by Sarah Everhart. The videos cover an overview of premise liability and defenses to premise liability. You can check out all our videos here Check out our Youtube channel at

Microbreweries and the New Class 8 Farm Brewery License pamphlet

Farm Brewery Guide Available: It came out just a few hours too late to make last week’s edition, but Research Assistant Mayhah Suri has completed a short guide to the new Maryland Farm Brewery Law and the Cidery Law. The guide will help those considering getting into the farm brewery or cidery business understand the maze of state and federal laws. The guide is available at For more information on brewing beer in Maryland check out the Brewers’ Association of Maryland at

This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2012-49200-20031

Leasing Webinars Online: This week, the leasing webinar series was completed. The webinars were sponsored by the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland Extension, the Ag Law Education Initiative, Maryland FarmLink, and Maryland Department of Agriculture and with granting funding from the Northeast Risk Management Education Center and USDA-NIFA. The webinars are available online at For more information on leasing in Maryland, check out the UME Ag Leasing page

Settlement Reached in WA Dairy Cases: Three Washington state dairies and environmental groups reached a settlement this week in a case being closely monitored by animal ag groups and ag attorneys. An earlier decision involving one of the dairies had marked the first time that manure had been found to be a solid waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, to see more on this decision see To read more about the settlement agreements see, Stay tuned next week when I will dive into the settlement agreements to help you make sense of them. We are working on setting up a webinar on this topic over the summer.

Fact Sheet about Understanding Agricultural Liability: Legal Risk Management Consideration

Managing Legal Risk Publication: Do not forget that we have a new publication available on how to manage legal risks. The publication is available at

Maryland: Farm fairs no place for bird flu. Maryland’s agricultural officials are taking their fight against bird flu to festival grounds across the state. The Maryland Department of Agriculture announced Monday that any poultry, whether from the state or elsewhere, must be tested for the flu at least 10 days before entry in any Maryland fair or show. The only exception are birds that originate in a National Poultry Improvement Plan clean or monitored flock. In addition, all waterfowl are banned from entry. The current strain of H5N2 avian influenza isn’t suspected of posing a threat to humans. The Midwest-centered outbreak has spread to more than 30 million poultry since last December. Read the full story here:

Food Safety Summit Discusses Produce Rule Implementation: The Food Safety Summit Expo and Conference on April 28-30 at the Baltimore Convention Center featured a session on managing options of the produce safety rule. Speakers from diverse backgrounds discussed FSMA’s implementation. The comment period on FDA’s proposed plans ends May 26, 2015. To read the full article follow the link:

Field (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).

Conservation Compliance Deadline Fast Approaching: Do not forget that the deadline to file your AD-1026 with FSA is June 1. USDA has released some guidance on when you need to self-certify and that can be found at

USDA Announces $30 Million Available for Food Entrepreneurs and Agricultural Producers to Develop New Products. On May 8, 2015 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is making $30 million available to farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs to develop new product lines. Funding will be made available through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. VAPG grants can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural products or additional uses for already developed product lines. Military veterans, socially disadvantaged, and beginning farmers and ranchers; operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches; farmer and rancher cooperatives; and applicants that propose mid-tier value chain projects are given special priority in applying for VAPGs. Additional priority is given to group applicants who seek funding for projects that “best contribute” to creating or increasing marketing opportunities for these type of operators. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 7. Electronic applications submitted through are due July 2. To read the full press release go here.

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