Sunday, April 27, 2008

Food and Agriculture

The LL.M. Program had its last day of classes last Friday, and we celebrated the last day of the semester with the entire School of Law community with a Staff Appreciation all-school luncheon. Good home-style soul food was the fare, catered by a law school favorite, Momma Dean's.

It just takes a look at the headlines for a reminder of how fortunate we are.

The head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Josette Sheeran called for "urgent action to tackle the 'silent tsunami' of rising food prices which threatens to push more than 100 million people worldwide into hunger."

The PBS broadcast, News Hour reported a stern warning from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "If not handled properly, this crisis could result in a cascade of others ... and become a multidimensional problem affecting economic growth, social progress and even political security around the world." More than 34 countries experienced protest, unrest, or food riots within the last month.

Today marks the beginning of their multi-part series on the global food crisis Global Food Crisis: The New World of Soaring Food Prices.

Another critical policy issue to be debated in the LL.M. Program.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Video Conferencing Expands "Agricultural Perspectives"

Each spring, the LL.M. candidates are enrolled in a course entitled Agricultural Perspectives. In this course, we consider the rich and varied history of American agriculture and debate today's issues in the context of this history. We examine a wide range of social and economic issues considering their origin and how history is reflected in today's policies. Topics considered include agrarianism, land tenancy issues, slavery, sharecropping, farm structure, early farm activism, and the Dust Bowl.

This week, we had an opportunity to consider state efforts to restrict corporate farming, and we were delighted to host a live guest lecture from Assistant Professor Anthony Schutz via video conference from the University of Nebraska College of Law. Professor Schutz has researched extensively in the area of anti-corporate farming statutes and worked closely with the Nebraska legislature in its efforts to craft a statute consistent with the dormant commerce clause. Professor Schutz did an excellent job of framing the issues and presenting the complexity of the state's varied interests. Appreciation is extended to Professor Schutz and the University of Nebraska - Lincoln College of Law.

The use of video conferenced discussions allows the LL.M. Program to easily connect and interact with agricultural law experts world wide. Next year, we anticipate our use of this technology to increase, as the School of Law will have a newly remodeled dedicated video conference classroom to host our discussions.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

LL.M. Candidates Meet the USDA General Counsel

USDA General Counsel Marc. L. Kesselman recently visited the University of Arkansas School of Law as a guest of the National Center for Agricultural Law. Mr. Kessleman delivered a public address, "Perspectives of USDA's Regulatory Policy Officer: Regulatory Reform and Agriculture in a Climate of Change." The LL.M. candidates had an opportunity to meet with him informally over lunch and to participate in a question and answer session with him. For more information on the visit, see the National Center’s e-newsletter.

Monday, April 7, 2008

April 2008 LL.M. Alumni & Friends Update

In February, I provided updates from our alumni, and shortly thereafter noted Ross Pifer's appointment as Director of the Ag Center at Penn State, Dickinson School of Law.

Here are some additional updates from our alumni and friends - listed by year in the program. Congratulations to all - such impressive work! Note: the combined news will be published in the law school's magazine, The Law Record, this summer.

For those not listed - be sure to let us know how you are doing!

Douglas Fee is practicing law in South Pasadena, California and is now certified as a specialist in appellate law. Of the 216,056 attorneys admitted to practice in California, 242 are appellate law specialists. Doug was back to visit us a couple weeks ago, and it was great to see him.

Job Serebrov serves as Senior Counselor to the USDA General Counsel in Washington, D.C. He has been in contact with us on a number of agricultural law issues and has been great at passing on job notices from the USDA.

Martha Noble serves as Senior Policy Associate for the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in Washington, D.C. She was recently appointed to the EPA Farm, Ranch & Rural Communities Advisory Committee.

Eric Strating and Henriette Arolt-Strating are in Canberra, Australia where Eric serves as Deputy Head of Mission of the Netherland's Australian Embassy. Henriette works with the government agency, Land & Water Australia. Eric reports that he has taken up competition horse jumping. He purchased a showjumper (Monty) and finished 5th out 28 in the first event he participated in! He says that he plans to quit now, preserving that good record, but we’ll wait and see.

Janie Simms Hipp is in Washington D.C. serving as a National Program Leader for Farm Financial Management, Risk Management Education, and Trade Adjustment Assistance at the USDA agency, CSREES.

Kyle Lathrop is Assistant General Counsel with Stiefel Research Institute, providing legal, regulatory and compliance support for the pharmaceutical company's R&D, Sales, and Distribution operations in Atlanta, Georgia and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Allen Olson continues his agricultural law work with the law firm of Moore, Clarke, DuVall, & Rodgers, in Albany Georgia and served as a recent chair of the Georgia Bar Association Agricultural Law section, publishing a section newsletter and sponsoring continuing legal education sessions for the Georgia bar.

Brigette J. Beaton provides consulting services in the areas of the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act for the USDA, NRCS. In addition, she is the owner of Wright Path Consulting, LLC., and is a part-time instructor at Atlanta Technical College in the Paralegal Studies Program.

Doug O'Brien is the Assistant Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, advising the Agriculture Director on regulatory and marketing issues.

Gayle Packer was recently promoted to the position of Director of Corporate Services at Terracon Consultants, Inc. She now has direct responsibility for the Legal, Purchasing and Safety departments, and coordination responsibility for other corporate services. She was named to Ingram's Business Magazine's Kansas City 40 Under 40 list.

Amy White-Beard operates her successful clothing store, Something Urban, on Dickson Street in Fayetteville and remains our most fashionable alum!

Paeton L. Burkett
serves as an Attorney with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety, Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code Council.

Harrison Pittman continues to serve as Director of the National Center for Agricultural Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. For information about the valuable work at the Center and the new resources available, consider signing up for their bi-monthly e-newsletter.

Jay Kiiha merged his existing practice with and became a partner in Capitol Law Group, PLLC, in Boise, Idaho. He practices administrative law, water law and federal criminal defense.

Brian Oakey is now the Deputy Director for the Department of Agriculture in Idaho.

Vince Chadick taught the fall LL.M. class, Federal Regulation of Agricultural Livestock Sales as an adjunct professor of law.

Britt T. Long has been appointed Special Master of the Tenth Judicial District Court in Lewistown, Montana. “In her spare time,” she helps to run a to help run a wheat, barley and cow-calf operation.

Kaleb Hennigh practices with Brown & Associates in Enid, Oklahoma. He and his wife Jennifer welcomed their first baby, Karsen Reese Hennigh into their family last year.

M. Elizabeth Skinner has opened her own law firm in Stuttgart, Arkansas. She practices in the areas of agricultural law, administrative law, real estate, trusts and estates, creditor bankruptcy, and collections. In addition, she serves as the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the 11-East Judicial District.

Jillian Hishaw recently helped the Land Trust Alliance to organize a midwest conference that addressed state opposition to conservation easements.

Marne Coit joined the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas School of Law in the fall of 2007, where she works on local food systems, sustainable agriculture, and other food law issues. She spoke at the annual Carolina Farm Stewardship Association conference on "Legal Challenges and Opportunities in Direct Marketing" and sits on the Steering Committee of the Arkansas Food Policy Council. Additionally, Marne was admitted to the Vermont Bar in Fall 2007.

Cara McCarthy hasn't quite finished the program yet, but she has already accepted a position as Legal Specialist with USDA GIPSA in Washington D.C.

K.C. Tucker will be working at the Bassett Law Firm here in Fayetteville as soon as she has completed the program.

More news on this year's graduates to follow soon!