Friday, September 21, 2007

Ag Law Conference in Georgia - with LL.M. Alumni

Today I had the opportunity to speak at an Agricultural Law conference, The Cutting Edge of Agricultural Law, at Mercer Law School in Macon, Georgia. This conference was organized by the Agricultural Law section of the Georgia Bar Association.

LL.M. Alumnus, Allen Olson (Moore, Clark, DuVall & Rodgers), section chair, gets credit for re-activiating the section, starting the section newsletter, and hosting the first annual ag law conference last year.

This year, Nowell Bereth (Alston & Byrd LL.P), organized the conference, and the LL.M. Program was very well represented. Allen provided the Update on the 2008 Farm Bill and brought in another alumnus, Anne Hazlett (Minority Counsel, Senate Agriculture Committee) to give an update on Senate negotiations. Professor Terry Centner (University of Georgia), also one of our alumni, spoke on Georgia's Right to Farm Law. I spoke on Recent Developments in Food Law and Food Safety. And, alumnus Beth Crocker, Counsel to the Commissioner of Agriculture in South Carolina, was there to accept her new position as next year's section chair.

It was great to see so many of our alumni, and in particular to see them all contributing so much to the agricultural law community.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Special Condensed Course in Ag Cooperatives

Dr. James R. Baarda from the USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service in Washington, D.C. will be with us this week teaching a condensed Agricultural Cooperative Law course. This is one of the special condensed course offerings in the LL.M. Program. During a condensed course week, the rest of our classes are suspended, and the LL.M. candidates immerse themselves in just one subject.

Dr. Baarda grew up on a farm in Iowa and received his B.S. degree in chemistry, physics, and zoology from Iowa State University. He received his law degree from the University of Denver School of Law (night division) and his Ph.D. in food and resource economics from the University of Florida. In addition to private practice and consulting work, Dr. Baarda has had a long and distinguished career with the USDA. He has worked with farmer cooperatives in Eastern Europe and Russia as well as throughout the United States. He is the recipient of the American Agricultural Law Association Distinguished Service Award and the USDA Superior Service Award. His current work is focused on the legal, economic, financial, and business characteristics of cooperatives that distinguish them from other forms of business in a dynamic, global economy.

Dr. Baarda is a great teacher and puts a tremendous amount of work into organizing a good course for our students. We are delighted to have him with us this week.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Welcome to the Unofficial Blog of the Graduate Program in Agricultural Law

Each year, the Graduate Program in Agricultural Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville, Arkansas prepares a small number of carefully selected attorneys as specialists in the legal problems and policies associated with agriculture.

What is agricultural law? It is the study of the network of laws that apply to the production, marketing, and sale of the food we eat, the natural fibers we wear, and increasingly, the bio-fuel that runs our cars. Agricultural law affects everyone; yet few understand the complex interaction of special exceptions and unique rules.

In the Graduate Program in Agricultural Law, we study this network of special laws - including the regulation of food safety and food labeling, the environmental regulation of agricultural production, and the commercial laws involved in agricultural transactions. And, we debate the critical policy issues concerning our system of food and agriculture today.

The objective of our program is to provide attorneys with the ability to deal at the highest professional level with the complex legal issues facing producers, processors, and consumers of agricultural products. We hope you enjoy learning more about our program and about agricultural law through this blog.