Monday, April 19, 2010

Phil Kunkel Delivers Successful Class on Contracting

Last week, we had record attendance for our new class, Field to Table: The Use (and Occasional Abuse) of Marketing Contracts and Production Contracts in Agriculture taught by commercial law expert, Philip Kunkel of the law firm of Gray Plant Mooty based in Minnesota. In addition to our LL.M. candidates and a J.D. student, we were delighted to host a number of returning alumni. They attended the class for CLE credit, and it was a great opportunity for them to reconnect with old friends.

The class was very well received. Phil's knowledge and experience in the area of agricultural contracting was impressive, and he successfully integrated caselaw, regulatory law, and policy with real world examples of contracting disputes. Included in the course materials were examples of contracts used in a variety of agricultural sectors, from hog production to grapes for wine production.

The timeliness of the class was evidenced by the publication of a Washington Post article on agricultural contracting, published the first day of the class, Meat, Poultry Industries Await New Antitrust Rules. And, one of our alumni in the class was Brett Offutt, one of the authors of the new rules, which are now in the hand of the Secretary of Agriculture. Brett serves as Policy and Litigation Director for the USDA GIPSA's Packers and Stockyards Administration. Despite a good deal of friendly banter between Phil and Brett, Brett was able to return to D.C. without having divulged any of the secrets of yet-to-be announced proposed regulations.

We were also delighted to be able to introduce Phil to Archie Schaffer, Tyson Foods’ Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs. Phil reconnected with friend and colleague Nate Hodne, VP Associate General Counsel & Assistant Secretary, Tyson Foods and met UA School of Law alumna Christine Daugherty, Senior Counsel at Tyson.

The contracting course provides an example of our commitment to
study the full spectrum of law and policy from "from farm to fork" - from the perspective of the farmer, the processor, the retailer, and the consumer. Our appreciation is extended to Phil for the time and effort he put into the making the course such a success. And, our thanks as well to LL.M. alumnus, Jeff Peterson who is also a principal at Gray Plant Mooty for helping Phil to prepare the excellent course materials and presentations.