Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Agricultural Biotechnology

This week, the LL.M. Program is immersed in the topic of agricultural biotechnology. Readings for the week include not only cases, statutes, and contracts, but also essays and news analysis on the controversial issues presented - including the regulation of genetically modified foods, the intellectual property rights in patented seeds, farmer liability, GMO drift, cloning, and food labeling issues.

The class began with the viewing of a Frontline/Nova documentary on agricultural biotechnology, Harvest of Fear. Following this, Professor Ralph Henry and his wife, Christine Daughtery took the students on a tour of the agricultural biotechnology labs on campus. Professor Henry teaches in the biological sciences department at the University of Arkansas and heads a molecular biology research laboratory. Dr. Daugherty is a fellow-scientist, with her PhD in biochemistry as well as her law degree from the University of Arkansas. She is currently is an attorney for Tyson Foods.

With this background, the class turns to Professor Neil Hamilton from Drake University School of Law for two and a half days of discussion and lecture. Professor Hamilton is the Dwight D. Opperman Chair of Law and Professor of Law & Director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Professor Hamilton is a regular visiting professor and a great friend of the LL.M. Program.

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