Delmarva Farmer Columnists


Navigating the ‘local food’ marketplace (June 28, 2016)

Ag Law

By Sarah Everhart, University of Maryland Extension Legal Specialist Agricultural and Resource Economics

(Writer’s note: This column should not be interpreted as legal advice for the reader.)

The Agriculture Law Education Initiative and the Maryland Farm Bureau will be hosting a panel discussion on July 27 for farmers interested in selling their farm-raised products in the booming local food marketplace.
Buyers of locally sourced farm products are also encouraged to attend.
The evening will begin with a light reception of locally sourced foods and drinks to allow for networking of buyers and sellers.
ALEI and MFB designed this event to run during the statewide Buy Local Challenge Week, July 23-31, during which all Marylanders are encouraged to eat at least one local product each day of the week.
In order to have a sufficient market of locally grown products for consumers, farmers and buyers have to connect and form a mutually beneficial economic relationship.
ALEI and MFB hope the event can bring farmers and buyers together to form those connections and strengthen Maryland’s food supply chain from the farm to the fork.
The first panel of the evening will be comprised of buyers of locally sourced products, including Jordan Lloyd-Chef, Bartlett Pear Inn; Ed Bush, Teddy Bear Fresh Food Supplier; Beth Brewster, Supervisor of Food Services, Caroline County Public Schools; and Kelly Jackson, Emily’s Produce.
The buyer panelists will discuss challenges they face in sourcing locally grow products and give farmer attendees advice on how to succeed in the local food marketplace.
The panel to follow will include Timothy Devine, Barren Island Oysters; Judy Crow; Crow Vineyards; and Kristen Langenfelder, Langenfelder Pork.
This diverse group of farmers will discuss how selling their products locally has benefited their operations and will share their experiences with finding viable buyers and markets for their products.
The event will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. at Chesapeake College, Wye Mills Campus; admission is free of charge but registration is required.
Those interested in attending are encouraged to register online at
Anyone with questions about the event can contact me at 410-458-2475.


The value of a signature (June 28, 2016)

Keeping the Farm

By Bob Wevodau, Ag Program Specialist, Farm Service Agency, Maryland

As a young boy I spent many nights outside Memorial Stadium in Baltimore waiting for my favorite Orioles players to come out and get an autograph.
As someone who lived more than an hour or so from Baltimore, this made for some long but memorable nights.
Like many Orioles fans my age, Cal Ripken Jr. was my favorite.
Though he usually took the longest to come out, he famously always signed.
I have a ton of autographs, many from players that were only briefly in the Major Leagues, but I have more Cal autographs than I can count.
Even if he hit .220 and fielded like me, he’d be my favorite because he always signed, and he was always nice.
That meant a lot to an impressionable kid.
Though looking at those autographs for someone from a different land, they look like nothing but some scribbling on paper, and in the literal sense, that is basically what they are, but the meaning behind them is so much more.
Autographs and signatures are important. If you have any doubts, just ask John Hancock.
Though we aren’t looking to defy the British Empire or sign a huge endorsement deal with a sport equipment company, this summer your signature is needed nonetheless.
The Farm Service Agency has been working hard to improve our acreage reporting process.
In the past there has been some redundancy with FSA and RMA when it came time to report acres.
As a result we worked together to create the Acreage Crop Reporting Streamlining Initiative.
Now you could report to FSA or Crop Insurance and the data is shared between agencies.
This started out in 2015 as a pilot program, but as of spring 2016 it has been expanded across the entire country.
ACRSI covers reporting for wheat, cotton, corn, rice, oat, peanuts, soybeans, rye, sorghum, alfalfa, CRP, grasses, and fallow ground.
That accounts for 93 percent of all annual crops reported to FSA and RMA.
July 15th is rapidly approaching and that means the busiest time of year for acreage reporting is upon us, but unlike in the past, you now only need to report once.
Though this saves time, regardless of where you reported your acres, you still need to come into a local FSA office for your signature.
By signing off on your acreage report, you are making yourself eligible for FSA programs.
Programs that could lead to benefits and payments.
I don’t know how much my Cal Ripken autographs are worth.
He has signed so many that they probably have more sentimental value than real value.
But your signature could be worth an ARC/PLC payment, or a NAP payment, or CREP payment, and you can put a dollar figure on that.
So in the big scheme of things, whose autograph is worth more?
A baseball hall of famer’s or a producer’s on his acreage report?
Sure, there may not be any kids waiting for you to step out of your combine so they can get you to sign a piece of paper for them, but your signature is worth more than you think it is, but only if you stop by your local FSA office to give it.