Saturday, November 7, 2009

Anne Hazlett Accepts Position as Minority Counsel, Senate Ag Committee

LL.M. Alumnae, Anne Hazlett recently returned to Washington, D.C. to accept the position of Minority Counsel with the Senate Agriculture Committee. Anne previously served Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. Anne is pictured here on a recent farm visit.

Anne is a graduate of Kansas State University, has her law degree from Indiana University, and she earned her LL.M. in Agricultural Law with us. Since that time, Anne has worked in a number of critical agricultural law positions including serving as counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee, previous work as minority counsel to the Senate Agriculture Committee, and serving as Chief of Staff to Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman.
Congratulations, Anne!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Prof. Kelley To Attend World Justice Forum in Vienna

Professor Christopher Kelley has been invited to participate in the second World Justice Forum to be held next week in Vienna, Austria. As noted on the Forum's website, "[p]rominent leaders from around the world will gather at this multidisciplinary invitation-only event to develop collaborative actions to strengthen the rule of law."

The World Justice Forum is "a global gathering at which prominent leaders from all parts of the world and a variety of disciplines come together to articulate how the rule of law affects their disciplines and regions and to develop collaborative actions to strengthen the rule of law." It is the largest international event hosted by the World Justice Project.

The World Justice Project is based on two complementary premises:
  • First, the rule of law is the foundation for communities of opportunity and equity; and
  • Second, multidisciplinary collaboration is the most effective way to advance the rule of law.Its stated mission is to lead a global, multidisciplinary effort to strengthen the rule of law for the development of communities of opportunity and equity.
To view a draft agenda for the 2009 World Justice Forum, click here. More posts to come, and hopefully some pictures from the Forum.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dr. Jeff Pettis Speaks to LL.M. Class on Pollinators

From PBS Nature, The Silence of the Bees -
In the winter of 2006/2007, more than a quarter of the country’s 2.4 million bee colonies — accounting for tens of billions of bees — were lost to CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder. This loss is projected have an $8 billion to $12 billion effect on America’s agricultural economy, but the consequences of CCD could be far more disastrous.

The role honeybees play in our diet goes beyond honey production. These seemingly tireless creatures pollinate about one-third of crop species in the U.S. Honeybees pollinate about 100 flowering food crops including apples, nuts, broccoli, avocados, soybeans, asparagus, celery, squash and cucumbers, citrus fruit, peaches, kiwi, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, melons, as well as animal-feed crops, such as the clover that’s fed to dairy cows. Essentially all flowering plants need bees to survive.

Last Friday in the Emerging Issues in Food Law class, Dr. Jeff Pettis, one of the lead scientists featured in The Silence of the Bees addressed the class via teleconference. As research leader of the USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Dr. Pettis leads a team effort to improve colony health by limiting the impact of pests and diseases on honey bee colonies. His research areas include; IPM techniques to reduce the impacts of parasitic mites and disease, effects of pesticides and pathogens on queen health and longevity, host-parasite relationships and bee behavior. Additionally, he serves as the lead coordinator for a new 5-year ARS Areawide program to improve colony health. Dr. Pettis received an undergraduate and MS degree from the University of Georgia and his doctoral degree in Entomology from Texas A&M University in 1992.

Dr. Pettis narrated his PowerPoint presentation on CCD and pollinator health overall and answered questions from the class. It was an informative and fascinating discussion, albeit one that raised many concerns about the future and how to best protect critical pollinators.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ag & Food Law Community on Kiva

Lisa Schreurs gave me a wonderful present last Spring - a gift certificate with Kiva. What better present for someone who teaches Agricultural Finance & Credit. In class, we discuss the need for capital in agricultural operations, the legal issues that arise in financing transactions, and the impact of financial stresses on farming operations. Most of the U.S. cases we study involve fairly significant sums of money.

Kiva, a non-profit micro-finance organization offers both a similarity and a difference. The similarity is the need that farmers have for financing for their businesses. The difference is that the loans needed are so small.

Kiva's mission is "to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty" and works to achieve this goal through a "person-to-person micro-lending website." On the Kiva website, you can browse entrepreneurs' profiles and decide who you would like to lend to. Loans are made through local micro-finance institutions approved by Kiva. The website provides transparent data regarding the institutions, the actual loans, and repayment track records.

During the course of the loan period, you receive periodic updates, and when your loan is repaid, you can relend to someone else.

One of my first loans was to Carmen in Peru. Here is the description that was provided to me.

Carmen is a member of the Banco Comunal Renacer. She is 55 years old, married, and has 6 children. Carmen travels to the region's different fairs to sell fruits and vegetables. She also buys cereals from the fair, which she later sells at the provisions market in the city of Ayacucho. In addition to all this, Carmen also sells wool out of her house. Carmen needs a loan of 2,000 soles, which will be invested in the purchase of wool and cereals. Carmen's dreams are to provide a good education to her children and to improve her business.
Last April, I signed up to offer a small loan; twenty-one others also participated. The total loan that Carmen needed was $675. Soon after she got the loan, she began paying it back. On October 16, Carmen paid back the last installment - $16.66, the loan was fully repaid. It is now available for making a loan to another.

My best wishes to Carmen; my thanks to the entrepreneurs that started Kiva and the organizations that keep it running so well; and my challenge to readers - make a Kiva loan to someone in the farming or food-related business.

I just set up an Ag & Food Law Community on Kiva. Anyone who makes a Kiva loan is welcome to count their loan as part of our community. All lending decisions are your own - it is just a way to show that the agricultural and food law community supports farmers and other food providers world wide. I posted this invitation on the aglaw blog as well. I suspect that anyone who participates will feel the same sense of satisfaction that I did.