College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Agricultural & Resource Economics

UMD AREC Contributes to International Extension Convention in Scotland

2017 International Farm Management Congress in Scotland

Mayhah and Paul

Agricultural Law Education Initiative (ALEI) Legal Specialist Paul Goeringer and Faculty Specialist Mayhah Suri recently attended the 21st International Farm Management Association’s (IFMA) Congress in the City of Edinburgh, Scotland.

The conference took place from July 2 to 7, and focused on farm management and extension education.

Over 400 people attended the conference, according to Suri. Participants travelled from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and from across Europe for the conference.

The meeting was an enriching experience due to the diversity of my fellow conference-goers," said Suri. "I think I learned more just from chatting with people about their work and perspectives.... Seeing how extension work is done in other countries made me appreciate the strong support we have at University of Maryland extension.”

Both Goeringer and Suri presented posters at the conference. Goeringer focused on the question of how data should be owned, and how there are various challenges related to this prominent issue. In her poster, Suri discussed community-supported agriculture.

“I think the most significant part of the presentation was telling people about ALEI and our mission to provide legal extension education,” said Suri. “Most people I talked to from outside of the U.S. were surprised and impressed that Maryland has a legal extension program.”

The conference was a week long, starting on a Sunday evening. On Tuesday and Thursday, participants went on farm tours.

“The program was interesting because it highlighted a diversity of crops, and the farm tours were fascinating,” said Goeringer.

One farm visited was a Christmas tree farm that also had produce, a restaurant and was near a nature trail, bringing in a variety of people and revenue.

“On the second day of tours, our last tour was about nutrition and production oriented.” said Suri. “There were sheep, potatoes and wheat. The countryside was so beautiful. There were lots of green rolling hills.”

Planners of the conference incorporated the farms tours and cultural events for the participants so that they could learn more about agricultural practices in Scotland.

Scotland extension agencies are different from those within the United States because they are created and controlled by private agents, rather than through universities, according to Goeringer.

The conference also highlighted relevant issues for Scottish farmers, including Brexit. Goeringer stated that none of the farmers know what the outcome of Brexit will be and how it will influence the agricultural trade policies.

“All in all, the conference was a good trip,” said Goeringer. As a result of the trip, he plans to incorporate what he learned about various laws and cultures to improve his farm succession workshops.

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