If you are a Maryland lawyer and you own horses, you need to read this.

If you know of a Maryland lawyer who owns horses, please make sure they read this!

We need all Maryland attorneys who are horse-owners (or livestock owners) to join the Maryland State Bar Association and to join the new Special Committee on Agriculture Law. This new Ag Law committee needs 100 members to become a full-fledged “Section” of the MDBA, and a Section has more influence than just a committee. Currently the Ag Law Committee has 95 members – so only five more are needed!

New Maryland State Bar Special Committee for Agriculture Law

It is hard to believe that the Maryland State Bar Association did not already have an ag committee. After all, there is an entire section for animal law, but not for ag law. As regular readers of The Equiery and equiery.com are aware, the Maryland State Bar Association Animal Law section tends to lean heavily towards animal rights – and towards the idea of horses as pets rather than horses as livestock and farm animals. Yet, there was no ag law committee.

So two Maryland attorneys, who also happen to be horsewomen, decided to do something about the situation. In November, Kathleen Tabor and Kim (Pardoe) Manuelides established the Maryland State Bar Association Special Committee for Agriculture Law. By mid-December, over 60 legal professionals had joined, and as of today the membership is up to 95 – and the committee needs only 5 more members in order to become a more powerful MSBA “Section.”

Well known in foxhunting circles as a former honorary whipper-in for Goshen Hounds, co-chair, Kim (Pardoe) Manuelides is a partner with Saul Ewing, LLP, in the firm’s Baltimore office and litigation department, where she services as a member of the firm’s Agriculture and Food Law Working Group, assisting producers and agri-businesses in connection with general business law issues, regulatory and administrative oversight and compliance issues, land use, veterinary practice management issues, and organic food marketing and regulation. Kim has a B.S. Degree in Animal Science from the University of Maryland College Park, where she served as President of the Animal Husbandry Club and the University of Maryland Agriculture Student Council.

Co-chair Kathleen Tabor is a sole practitioner (Law Office of Kathleen JP Tabor, LLC) with a general civil practice focusing on equine business, activities, and ownership. She has assisted numerous individuals and various agricultural businesses, both for-profit and non-profits, involving apiculture, sheep, community supported agriculture farming, therapeutic services, horse breeding, racing, show barns, horse sales and leases, training and lesson services, and boarding facilities. Kathleen was raised in rural Michigan and proud to be the granddaughter of farmers. She has extensive horse and business experience and currently serves as the “Trade and Support Industry” representative on the Maryland Horse Industry Board.

The mission of the Agriculture Committee is to serve the interests of the agricultural community in Maryland. The Committee will strive:

  • to serve as a resource and supportive assembly of legal professionals to those involved in agricultural affairs;
  • to improve the knowledge and professional abilities of legal professionals through continuing legal education programs, industry-based education programs, publications, networking, and other means;
  • to engage in the practice of law as it relates to agricultural matters;
  • to review and research applicable laws and proposed legislation which may impact the industry as a whole;
  • to monitor developments in the various legal fields that are applicable to the broad spectrum of agriculture, agribusiness, and aquaculture in Maryland;
  • to disseminate information about current developments in this area of the law; and
  • in general, to assist in the improvement of the practice of law in this area.

“We envision that members of the MSBA Agriculture Committee will serve all aspects of the agriculture industry: crops to livestock; specialty services and products; regulatory and legislative matters; land use and environmental issues; business formation and succession; estate planning Michigan, Colorado and other regions; intellectual property concerns; as well as litigation and dispute resolution,” Kim stated.

“What is different about this group, from other MSBA sections and committees is that this Committee will be organized into divisions to further the mission of the Committee through networking, education, and membership activities,” explained Kathleen. “We intend to bring the industry and attorneys together to help educate one another on what is needed to support Maryland’s number one commodity.”

Planned activities include legal programs, industry-based educational seminars and networking events. There may even be Awards for Lawyers for their work in the field, the committee is considering this at the moment (the page will be updated if confirmed). Subcommittees of the Committee will include Membership & Young Lawyers; Case Law & Regulatory Affairs; Legislative; Programs; and Publications & Communications.

Legal professionals who are interested in joining the Agriculture Committee are encouraged to contact either Manuelides at (410) 332-8844, kmanuelides@saul.com or Tabor at (443) 454-2163, ktaborlaw@aol.com for more information. Individuals must be a member of the Maryland State Bar Association and have a desire to serve the Maryland agriculture community with legal and regulatory matters.