Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Agricultural Sustainability Course


We are delighted to offer a new course, Agricultural Sustainability this semester as part of our curriculum of specialized agricultural law courses for our LL.M. candidates. And, we are particularly delighted to have our alumnus, Adjunct Professor Alison Peck teaching the course.

Professor Peck has been a practitioner and scholar of international law and sustainability for more than ten years. Her research and writing in the LL.M. Program involved the area of international agricultural sustainability, and she has recently published two articles in this area.
Alison Peck, The new Imperialism: Toward an Advocacy Strategy for GMO Accountability, 21 Geo. Int'l Envtl. L. Rev. 37 (2008);

Alison Peck, Standing for Protection of Collective Rights in the European Communities, 32 Geo. Wash. J. Int'l L. & Econ. 367 (2000).
Before coming to Arkansas, Professor Peck practiced international arbitration with the law firm of Boies, Schiller & Flexner in Washington, D.C., trying cases before various international arbitration bodies. She served as Notes Editor for the Yale Law Review and received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1995. Following law school, helped found the Global Constitutionalism Project at Yale, working with supreme court justices around the world to assemble a global exchange of judicial decision-making on global problems. She served as a law clerk for Judge Jon O. Newman of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Judge G. Federico Mancini on the Court of Justice for the European Communities.

Professor Peck taught International Environmental Law at the University of Arkansas during the Fall 2008 term, receiving rave reviews from her students. We are delighted to have Professor Peck teaching our Sustainable Agriculture class for the first time this coming semester. Here is her description of the course:
“Sustainability” has been called a “contestable concept” – no reasonable person is really against it, in principle, but what does it mean as a law and policy priority? What policies does sustainability compete with, or appear to? What decisional frameworks do legal advocates and policymakers rely on to analyze and resolve such conflicts? The goal of this seminar is to begin developing such a framework, and use it to evaluate the effects of existing laws on sustainability in agriculture. To do this, we will attempt to identify the goals of sustainable agriculture and consider competing policy interests (actual or apparent). With this understanding, we will consider how existing laws and policies (both directly and incidentally regulating agriculture) affect the sustainability of agricultural development.

The texts for this course will include readings from law, policy, science, economics, and the humanities, as well as educational materials produced by and for farmers seeking to farm more sustainably. The course aims to bring together a variety of perspectives to better understand how particular farming practices may affect the environment for future generations, and how the law does, can and should shape decisions about how to farm (and which agricultural products to consume). The student’s “final exam” will be to submit additional materials relating to the chosen topic, which the student believes would add greater depth or important new perspectives to the course, and to write a brief paper explaining how this research enhanced the student’s thinking on or understanding of the issues raised in the course.
Next fall, Professor Peck will be embarking on a new challenge. She recently accepted a tenure track teaching position at the University of West Virginia School of Law. We wish her the best in her new position and hope to continue working with her.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Adjunct Professor Mark Henry Teaches Agricultural Biotechnology

We are pleased to welcome a new adjunct professor of law to the ranks of experienced agricultural law professors. This semester, Mark Henry is teaching the Agricultural Biotechnology course.

Professor Henry is a registered Patent Attorney with an active agricultural law, commercial litigation, and intellectual property practice here in Fayetteville at the Henry Law Firm. He received his B.A. degree in Biology from Hendrix College, his law degree (with honors) from the University of Arkansas School of Law and his LL.M., in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law. Professor Henry previously taught Patent Law at the Bowen School of Law University of Arkansas, Little Rock.

Professor Henry is admitted to practice in Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri; he is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Eighth and Federal Circuits, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas, the U.S. District Court of Nebraska, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Oklahoma. He is a member of the Washington County, Arkansas (past Chair, Intellectual Property Section), and American (Intellectual Property Section) Bar Associations.

In addition to his agricultural intellectual property work, Professor Henry received recognition for his firm's representation of Hmong family farmers who had moved to the region to purchase poultry contracting farms and were facing foreclosure. (Fall/Winter 2006-07 Arkansas Law Record, Local Firm Makes a Difference)

We are delighted to have Professor Henry with us this semester!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ice Storm Hits Northwest Arkansas

Usually, I brag about our great weather and beautiful scenery here in the Ozarks. This week, however, I report with sadness about the ice storm that hit last week. We are fine, and the beautiful new School of Law facility was literally a shelter from the storm for students, but we have a lot of clean up to do!

The storm was the worst recorded ice storm in history; it closed the University of Arkansas for an unprecedented four days, and many (us included) are still without electricity. Where we live, in a remote area of the Ozarks, but only about 12 miles from school, we may not have our power restored for weeks.

A record number - 9700 - power poles went down and the devastation of our beautiful trees is truly astounding.

However, in true fashion, people are pulling together to help each other and offers of assistance abound. Onward with the clean up - spring is just around the corner. In fact, yesterday when I was picking up brush in our yard, there were the crocuses poking up beneath the ice!

For a slide show of photos of the storm damage on our property, visit my Picasa Album.