Over the past few years, agricultural operators have seen a number of incidents where farming practices have been called into question and farms have faced protests that can lead to disruptions of business operations and concerns for safety of employees, family members, and livestock and crops. According to feedback received from various industry groups in the Mid-Atlantic Region, including the soybean groups, grain growers, Delmarva Poultry Industries, Inc, and from Maryland dairies, this is a topic of great interest and importance to their membership.
This proposed project would review existing state laws in Maryland and Delaware to assist agricultural operations to better understand how to handle situations where the farm may come under fire for the practices utilized. Laws to be reviewed would be animal welfare laws, trespassing, usage of public areas for protesting, and criminal issues such as trespassing and vandalism. After this review, we would develop short publications to better assist agricultural operations better understand legal rights if faced with these situations. Sample documents would also be developed if needed, such as template signs highlight animal welfare practices utilized on the farm.
As a result of this project, Maryland and Delaware producers would better understand their legal rights to be better prepared if their operation fall under public scrutiny.