AREC Extension Publications

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    New Coronavirus Food Assistance Program May Provide Relief to Maryland Growers Due to COVID-19 Losses
    (2020-05) Goeringer, Paul
    USDA recently announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), a program of financial assistance for growers impacted by disruptions due to COVID-19, specifically for commodities which have seen a 5 percent loss or greater in price decline or losses due to supply chain disruptions. Eligible growers will receive a one-time payment from two possible funding sources, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act. Signup begins May 26, 2020, and runs through August 28, 2020.
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    Force Majeure Clauses: What Are They and Do They Apply in Issues Caused by COVID19?
    (2020-04-10) Goeringer, Paul; Thilmany, Elizabeth; Suri, Mayhah
    2020 has been a challenging year with the global economic shutdown from COVID-19 leading to disruptions in many industries. Agriculture has had its fair share of disruptions from this global pandemic. Such disruptions have raised questions for many of you about your contracts to supply farm products to businesses, such as restaurants or schools, that no longer need those products due to shutdowns. You may also have issues finding labor to help move products to customers. Contracts between suppliers and customers often include provisions called force majeure clauses. These clauses allow one or both parties in a contract to excuse the performance, in this case, the fulfillment, of the contract in certain situations.
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    Finding An Attorney for Your Case Requires Asking the Right Questions
    (2019-09) Goeringer, Paul
    Selecting an attorney to represent you is not always an easy prospect especially if it is your first time needing legal help. You may not know how to go about finding the right attorney or what questions to ask. Does the attorney have experience handling cases like yours? Do you understand how the attorney will bill you? Are you paying a flat fee or being billed hourly? Selecting the right attorney and understanding expectations on both sides will hopefully lead to a successful attorney-client relationship.
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    2019 Market Facilitation Program Available to Assist Producers Trade Disputes
    (2019-08-04) Millet-Williams, Nerice; Goeringer, Paul
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) established the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) under Section 5 of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act in 2018. This section authorizes CCC to assist in the disposition of surplus commodities and to increase the domestic consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding or aiding in the expansion of domestic markets or by developing or aiding in the development of new and additional markets, marketing facilities and uses for such commodities. MFP provides direct payments to producers of specific products impacted by foreign tariffs. This program has been updated for 2019 to continue to assist growers impacted by trade disputes.
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    Insuring Green Peas
    (2019) House, Meredith; Goeringer, Paul; Leathers, Howard
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    Maryland Agriculture Lending Conditions, Land Values and Cash Rental Rates 2018
    (2018-11) Kuykendall, Olivia; Goeringer, Paul
    In Spring 2018, Maryland farmers were surveyed to determine current land values, rental rate and lending conditions. Surveyors received responses from seven out of nine University of Maryland Extension program clusters. These clusters reported the values, rents and interest rates for non-irrigated cropland, irrigated cropland, pastureland and forested land in their region. This data was used to determine the average values for each cluster and the state of Maryland. Descriptions of the data as well as tables are provided in the publication.
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    Revenue Insurance Now Available For Dairy Producers
    (2018-10) Kuykendall, Olivia; Goeringer, Paul
    USDA recently approved a financial risk management program for farmers who are vulnerable to dairy price fluctuations. The Dairy Revenue Protection program is buy-in insurance that covers a percentage of a producer’s expected quarterly revenue. Coverage is quarterly and the price depends on either the class or component of the milk products and the desired percentage of coverage. More information on the program, eligibility, limitations, pricing, where and how to buy can be found in this publication.
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    Valuing On-Farm Heir’s Sweat Equity Is Complicated: Agreements Can Fairly Compensate On-Farm Heirs
    (2018-10) Grahame, Mason; Johnson, Dale; Onumajuru, Catherine; Goeringer, Paul
    Determining the value of sweat equity can be both challenging and controversial for farm families. Sweat equity arises as an issue when an on-farm heir receives payment at below market rate, and the farm business grows in size due to an on-farm heir’s below-market labors. Land in the farm may also appreciate in value due to the work of the on-farm heir. It is important to note that the best solution for handling sweat equity is to agree early on to pay the on-farm heir at a market rate. Handling sweat equity early on may necessitate the on-farm heir also working off the farm for additional income if the farm cannot support an additional person fulltime. It is important to discuss the farm succession plan and limit the possibility of sweat equity claims at an early stage of farm expansion.
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    Market Facilitation Program Available to Assist Producers Due to Trade Disputes
    (2018-09) Kuykendall, Olivia; Goeringer, Paul
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) established the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) under Section 5 of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act. This section authorizes CCC to assist in the disposition of surplus commodities and to increase the domestic consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding or aiding in the expansion of domestic markets or by developing or aiding in the development of new and additional markets, marketing facilities, and uses for such commodities. MFP provides direct payments to producers of specific products impacted by foreign tariffs.
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    Industrial Hemp Remains Illegal to Cultivate In Maryland Until Final Regulations and Research Programs Finalized
    (2018-06-25) Goeringer, Paul; Cook, Nicole; Nuckolls, Kelly; Ristvey, Andrew; Morris, Dale
    In 2016, the Maryland General Assembly first passed legislation allowing for the development of an Industrial Hemp Pilot Program in the state. That program was recently updated this year by House Bill (HB) 698 to allow farmers contracting with the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) or Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) in Maryland to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. Production of hemp under the program must further either agricultural or academic research. While HB 698 becomes effective on July 1, MDA is currently developing regulations and applications required under this new law and IHE have not had sufficient time to develop research programs for industrial hemp production, which conform to the regulations. Until then, any grower attempting to produce industrial hemp in Maryland is still producing it illegally and faces potential criminal penalties.
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    Reporting Continuous Release Emissions
    (2018-01-16) Goeringer, Paul; Moyle, Jon; Rhodes, Jennifer; Nuckolls, Kelly
    The 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act contained language that would exempt agricultural operations from reporting under CERCLA. This fact sheet is left up as a reference for those wondering what reporting looked like at the time. At this time, all agricultural operations are exempt.
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    Management Tool of Last Resort: Bankruptcy Offers Protections to Qualifying Agricultural Operations and Fishermen to Restructure Business and Survive Tough Economic Times
    (2017-10-17) Grahame, Mason; Goeringer, Paul
    Agriculture like many businesses is full of risks: marketing, financial, production, labor, and legal risks. With each risk area, producers must develop strategies to manage those risks. To manage marketing risks, for example, a producer would develop a plan for how to handle crops grown over the course of the season to maximize profits. Managing financial risks may require a producer to purchase crop insurance to cover losses if a crop fails. But sometimes in an operation, the risks may outnumber the strategies developed to manage those risks, and the operation may experience significant financial losses. Bankruptcy is often a risk management tool of last resort for a farming operation. For many family farmers and fishermen, the idea of bankruptcy is enough to lose the benefits from avoiding filing in a reasonable time. Chapter 12 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code has made business reorganization and debt repayment a much more streamlined process, allowing family farmers and fishermen to reorganize their operation to avoid total business collapse. Chapter 12 is useful for most farmers and fishermen seeking help under U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is useful for debts of a single individual in business with unexpected business difficulties, and Chapter 11 may be used as a last resort when a debtor’s debt exceeds limits from other chapters, or are not qualified for a Chapter 12.
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    Understanding Agricultural Liability: Maryland’s Right-to-Farm Law Can Limit Liability for Maryland Farm, Commercial Fishing, and Seafood Operators
    (2017-09) Goeringer, Paul; Lynch, Lori
    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.
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    Ensuring the Continued Viability of Rural Communities: Using Mediation to Settle Disputes
    (2017-08) Grahame, Mason; Goeringer, Paul
    Mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution, has considerable advantages over litigation in terms of relationships among parties, finances, and time. Mediation can be a useful alternative to expensive litigation for many disputes. It encourages individuals to take responsibility for their issues by meeting to discuss both sides of the story openly, and properly identifying facts with a mediator in an effort to avoid expensive litigation. This publication covers Maryland's Agricultural Conflict Resolution Service through the Maryland Department of Agriculture. This USDA approved mediation program works to provide low-cost to free mediation services to resolve agricultural disputes.
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    Considerations for Equine Lease Agreements
    (2017-04) Bhadurihauck, Sara; Goeringer, Paul
    Offering a horse for lease can be a good option for an owner who is unable to ride or care for their horse due to physical, time, or financial constraints but still wishes to maintain ownership. A lease can be an alternative to selling the horse, a way to cut maintenance costs, or an avenue to ensure the horse remains in work. While some verbal contracts are considered binding in Maryland, getting the agreement in writing is a good idea. A well-written lease can protect the owner (also called the lessor) and the lessee (the person leasing the horse) from liability and ensure both parties understand their rights and responsibilities. An equine lease can take many forms, depending on how the lease agreement is constructed. Consider the following items when preparing or reviewing a written lease agreement.
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    Farmer-saved Seed: What is Legal? What is Not?
    (2017-06) Morris, Dale; Kratochvil, Robert; Goeringer, Paul
    Most wheat and soybean seed sold in Maryland is protected by either U.S. Patent Law or the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA). These protections severely limit the age-old practice of “farmer-saved seed” or prohibit it entirely, depending upon the protection the owner of the variety secures. The following will discuss the implications of Patent Law and PVPA on farmer-saved seed of wheat and soybeans.
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    Conservation Land-Use Policy Toolkit
    (2017-06) Lewis, Rebecca; Newburn, David A.; Zlevor, Kelsey; Knaap, Gerrit
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    Farm Data: Ownership and Protections
    (2017-01) Ellixson, Ashley; Griffin, Terry
    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.