Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Spring 2010 Classes Begin

This week marks the beginning of Spring 2010 semester classes. Here are the descriptions of the courses we are offering this semester:

Government Regulation of Agriculture
This course analyzes federal domestic commodity programs, including payment eligibility and limitation rules; the USDA National Appeals Division (NAD) administrative appeals process; the judicial review of USDA NAD determinations; the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act; the USDA formal administrative adjudication process; federal marketing orders for milk, fruit, vegetables, specialty crops and nuts; and introduces the Federal Tort Claims Act and the Equal Access to Justice Act as applied to agricultural litigation. Incorporated in the course at various points will be basic principles of federal administrative law. This year, Agricultural Policy Making and the Impact of the Federal Budget and Crop Insurance/Disaster Assistance will be folded into this important look at federal agricultural policy.

Rural Lands - Rural Livelihoods
Rural development initiatives are distinct from the typical farm programs. This course considers innovative opportunites for farmers and other rural residents to explore innovative ways to stabilize and strengthen their rural communities. Included will be a study of some of the legal issues presented by wind farming.

Agricultural Bankruptcy
This course examines bankruptcy law as applied to agricultural operations, including Chapter 12 - Family Farmer Reorganization.

Agricultural Perspectives
Agriculture has a rich and varied history, and today’s issues are often best understood in the context of this history. This course examines 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, farm structure, early farm activism, the Dust Bowl, migrant farm labor, and issues involving the global food system.

Selected Issues in Food Law
This course explores current issues of food law selected by the students in the class, with a different topic presented each week. Legal and policy issues are presented and debated. Topics chosen in previous sessions have included the use of the term “grass fed” in meat labeling, hunger and the right to food as a human right, government efforts to address the obesity problem, the regulation of bottled water, and the use of the labeling term “natural.”

Agricultural Labor Law
This survey course examines the legal, social, and economic issues that arise from the extensive use of migrant labor in U.S. agricultural operations. This complex issue is analyzed from many perspectives. Discussion topics include agricultural exemptions from labor laws, the Migrant & Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, and agriculture’s reliance on undocumented alien workers.

Biotechnology & Agriculture
Developments in agricultural biotechnology offer exciting opportunities but also raise concerns. This course examines laws governing biotechnology as applied to agriculture, combined with a discussion of the farm policy impact and analysis of regulations controlling the use of biotechnology in agriculture and whether these regulations have kept up with scientific developments.

Advanced Agricultural Commercial Law
This new course will be a practical exploration of commercial and contract law issues and how they impact agri-business decision making. It will begin with an overview of UCC Article 2 issues including bailments, consignments and forward contracting. It will then turn to some of the special problems associated with livestock marketing contracts; grain marketing contracts; and production contracts. It will conclude with a discussion of some of the unique contractual issues that arise including wine grapes and a consideration of Renewable Energy Feedstock Contracts.

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