The Agriculture Law Education Initiative

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A panel discusses how Maryland’s agricultural sector will meet its Phase III Watershed Implementation Bay Clean-up Goals at the 2018 Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference.

The Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI) has been in full swing for 5 years and it shows no sign of slowing down. ALEI provides up-to-date legal information, educational materials, and trainings to Maryland’s agricultural community. ALEI is comprised of legal specialists and other extension specialists who help farmers understand and comply with state, federal, and local laws and regulations.

Sarah Everhart, Managing Director of ALEI at Maryland Carey Law and a cum laude graduate of the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, has a background in environmental law, which influences her work with the agricultural community. On behalf of ALEI, Everhart spearheads an annual Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference. The conference brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss the network of environmental laws and issues facing Maryland’s farmers. 

With 118 attendees, this year’s conference was a resounding success and offered opportunities for networking among key stakeholders and students in the agriculture and environmental law fields in Maryland. The conference highlighted several critical issues in Maryland’s agricultural community, such as oyster aquaculture trends and challenges, navigating pesticide regulations, and the importance of lease strategies when implementing conservation practices on the leased farmland. Conference attendees enjoyed hearing from Senator “Mac” Middleton, former Chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the state senate’s only full-time farmer. Sen. Middleton reflected on his years as a legislator and how he often achieved political progress: not through bare knuckle fighting but through bipartisan compromise.

As the temperature drops and winter draws closer, the ALEI team gears up for their busy season. According to Everhart, “farmers are always busy but when their day-to-day demands slow down in the winter months, the ALEI team crisscrosses the state to provide in-person education to as many folks as we can.” When she is not providing legal education to Maryland’s farming community, Everhart teaches classes at Maryland Carey Law and serves as one of the faculty advisers to the Food Law Society.

According to Everhart, “I have a lot of projects going on at any given time, and I have been extremely fortunate to have had many talented Maryland Carey Law students as legal interns over the years. My legal interns have been critical to the creation of many of our most popular legal resources.” Any student interested in serving as a research assistant for the ALEI, should contact Sarah Everhart severhart@law.umaryland.edu for more information.

ALEI, in partnership with the Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology, Inc., also offers the Russell Brinsfield Summer Internship Program. This paid residential internship is open to law students interested in working on critical issues facing the agriculture and environmental law communities. In past years interns have worked on projects related to implementing conservation practices on leased farmlands, aquaculture theft prevention, and forest management on farms among many others. The application process for Summer 2019 interns will begin in late November and be distributed through MELS; however, any student interested may contact Everhart for more information.

About Maryland Carey Law

The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law was established in 1816 and began regular instruction in 1824. It is the third-oldest law school in the nation, but its innovative programs make it one of the liveliest and most dynamic today. Maryland Carey Law stands among five other professional schools on the Founding Campus of the University of Maryland. It has taken advantage of this location to become an integral part of the Baltimore-Washington legal and business community.