Published February 5, 2015 on American Agriculturalist.

Community Supported Agriculture operations don’t have bullet-proof protection from problems with membership agreements and labor. That’s why workshops addressing those issues are scheduled on February 26 and March 3 at two Maryland locations.

You don’t have to farm in Maryland to attend the free workshop. But registration is required.

CSA operators or those thinking about starting a CSA are invited to learn how to draft better membership agreements and address common labor issues. The workshops are free but registration is required.

“This initiative is designed to help CSA farmers develop strong risk management tools,” says Mark Powell, marketing chief of Maryland Department of Agriculture. “We want operators and consumers to have successful relationships.” The workshops are sponsored by MDA, University of Maryland’s Agricultural and Resource Economics College, the Agriculture Law Education Initiative, Maryland Farm Bureau, and Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit.

CSA MEMBERS OR WORKERS? Labor issues do arise on community supported agriculture farms, and need to be prevented.

CSA MEMBERS OR WORKERS? Labor issues do arise on community supported agriculture farms, and need to be prevented.

CSA MEMBERS OR WORKERS? Labor issues do arise on community supported agriculture farms, and need to be prevented.

Common issues
The workshop will focus on common issues with CSA membership agreements, an overview of a model CSA contract developed for Maryland CSAs, plus a look at labor issues faced by CSA operators.

“We get a lot of questions on labor issues when it comes to CSA operators and other diversified operations in Maryland,” notes Paul Goeringer, ag law specialist for Maryland Extension.  “These workshops will provide a good opportunity to answer questions.”

They will be held:

* Thursday, Feb. 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Frederick County University of Maryland Extension Office, 330 Montevue Lane in Frederick. Lunch will be provided.  To register, call the office at (301) 600-1594 or register online at https://umecsaworkshop.eventbrite.com.

* Tuesday, March 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the MDA headquarters, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis. Lunch will be provided. To register, contact MDA Marketing at (410) 841-5770 or register online at http://mdacsaworkshop.eventbrite.com