Thursday, October 30, 2008

American Agricultural Law Conference

I was pleased to accompany 8 of our LL.M. candidates on a trip to Minneapolis to attend the American Agricultural Law Association Annual Educational Symposium, October 24-25, 2008. This conference brings together great friends and colleagues and is always a good opportunity to learn and to share perspectives on agricultural law developments.

This year, there were over 210 attendees at the conference, and I was delighted to see over twenty of our LL.M. alumni among those attending. I also had an opportunity to meet with a number of prospective LL.M. program applicants - enthusiastic law students and attorneys anxious to be able to come to Fayetteville to study with us.

I was honored to have two opportunities to participate in the conference. I delivered a Food Law Update to the general session and later moderated a panel that discussed legal issues involving organic production.

It was a great opportunity for this year's LL.M. candidates to meet agricultural law professionals from across the United States and several international countries. Appreciation is extended to the University of Arkansas Graduate School for assisting with travel expenses. Because the candidates participated in a poster display at the conference, they were eligible for travel funding through the graduate school. And, they did an amazing job on their posters.

Here is a link to an album showing the posters designed by the LL.M. candidates who attended the conferece, Aaron Thompson, Andrew Hopper, Angela Boyd, Ashley Schweizer, Jera Houghtaling, Kimberly Clark, Paul Goerenger, and Qiana Wilson.

Blogging from Food Law & Policy Class

One of our LL.M. Candidates, Ashley Schweizer has started blogging! Ashley is reporting on some of the "food law in the news" discussions that take place at the beginning of our Food Law & Policy class. She is doing a great job, and her posts reflect the myriad of interesting issues that are surfacing every day. Check out her blog at foodlawclass. As our recruitment poster says, "Today's headlines. Tomorrow's law practice."

Ashley is from Salem, Kentucky. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science/Social Studies from Murray State University, summa cum laude and her J.D. degree from Ohio Northern University with distinction as a Member of the Willis Society (top 10% of the class). While in law school, Ashley served as the Symposium Editor of the Northern Ohio Law Review and received Book Awards in Legal Writing II, Civil Practice, Environmental Law Seminar, and Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights. She was the 2006 first place winner in the Daniel Guy Appellate Advocacy Competition. She clerked for with the firm of Boehl Stopher & Graves and served as a Congressional intern for Rep. Ed Whitfield , U.S. House of Representatives. Ashley is currently an LL.M. candidate. She received a Graduate Assistantship to work with the LL.M. Program, and she works part time with the Bassett Law Firm here in Fayetteville.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Advanced Agricultural Law Research

Each fall semester, LL.M. candidates have the opportunity to take a course in advanced agricultural law research. This practical course provides a variety of helpful research tips and acquaints the candidates with some of the specialized agricultural law resources available. The course also assists candidates in getting started on their writing project - completion of a research article is one of the requirements for the LL.M. degree.

As part of the Advanced Agricultural Law Research class, guest speakers make presentations to the class, bringing special expertise. Jason Springman, Reference Librarian at the Young Law Library was a guest lecturer on the issue of online resources for research and provided very helpful information. And, this last week, two professors from the School of Law's legal writing program, Kathy Samson and Karen Koch made a special presentation on plagiarism and originality in legal writing. They delivered a PowerPoint presentation and answered student questions on the proper use of sources, proper attribution, and other legal writing issues. Their insight was greatly appreciated.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sustainable Agriculture Leader Visits Fayetteville

The LL.M. Program was pleased to co-host an informal discussion of sustainable agriculture in honor of Dr. Fred Kirschenmann who was in Fayetteville as a visitor of the Center for Applied Sustainability.

Dr. Kirschenmann is a recognized leader in national and international sustainable agriculture. He serves as a Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University (ISU) and as President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. He continues to be actively involved in the management of his family’s 3,500-acre certiļ¬ed organic farm in south central North Dakota. This farm was the subject of the 1995 award winning film, My Father's Garden by Miranda Productions. LL.M. candidates in the Graduate Program in Agricultural Law have fewed this film as part of their Agricultural Perspectives course, a course that delves into agricultural social history and ethics.

Dr. Kirschenmann holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Chicago and has written extensively about ethics and agriculture. He has held numerous appointments, including the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board and most recently, the National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production operated by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and funded by Pew Charitable Trusts.

The event was organized by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, and other co-sponsors were the National Agricultural Law Center, The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, Ozark Slow Food.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dr. Baarda: Agricultural Economics for Lawyers

The week of September 30, Visiting Professor Dr. James Baarda taught a condensed course in the LL.M. Program, Agricultural Economics for Lawyers. This excellent course arose out of the requests of last year's LL.M. Candidates to bring Dr. Baarda back for a second condensed course. His usual course is Agricultural Cooperatives which will be offered Spring semester 2009.

Agricultural economic principles underlie much of our federal farm policies and yet many attorneys do not have a good understanding of these principles or their application. Dr. Baarda's class, developed specifically for our program bridges this gap.

Dr. Baarda is uniquely qualified to provide this excellent course. He grew up on a small farm in Iowa. He attended Iowa State University (B.S., 1963, chemistry, physics, zoology), the University of Denver School of Law, Night Division (J.D., 1969), and the University of Florida (Ph.D., 1974, Food and Resource Economics). He is a member of the Colorado and Florida Bars (inactive), a recipient of the American Agricultural Law Association’s Distinguished Service Award and USDA’s Superior Service Award.

Dr. Baarda worked with USDA’s Farmer Cooperative Service in Washington, D.C., for more than 16 years, then spent four years as Vice President of Education at the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. After domestic and international consulting in Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union republics, he joined a law firm in Washington engaged in complex nationwide class action as well as other litigation.

In 2001, Dr. Baarda returned to USDA where he conducts research, writing, training, and speaking activities for Cooperative Services in the Rural Business-Cooperative Service agency. He has written and spoken extensively on topics related to cooperatives and other farmer and business associations and is widely recognized for his work, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Much of Dr. Baarda's current work focuses on the legal, economic, financial, and business characteristics of cooperatives that distinguish them from other forms of business in a dynamic, global economy. He is pictured here being interviewed on Russian television during a recent trip to work with farmers in rural Russia.