Sunday, October 23, 2011

American Agricultural Law Association Symposium

We just got back from a wonderful trip to Austin, Texas for the annual educational symposium of the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA).

The LL.M. Program has always had a close relationship with the AALA, and our alumni and faculty continue to play an important role. Again this year, we were very well represented -  with a total conference attendance of over two hundred, twenty alumni from our LL.M. Program were registered and six were presenters.

 Two alumni from our first graduating class, Terry Centner (Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Georgia) and Linda Grim McCormick (Senior Division Manager at Jewels by Park Lane and Editor of the Ag Law Update) were there, and we began plans for an alumni reunion this coming Spring.  Stay tuned!  We hope to schedule it when Neil Hamilton is with us teaching his Spring course.  Neil was recruited by then LL.M. Program Director Jake Looney as the first professor hired to teach in the new LL.M. Program.

We were pleased to see two of our alumni from the USDA -  Janie Simms Hipp and Brandon Willis.  Janie serves as Senior Advisor for Tribal Affairs to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and is also the Director of the new USDA Office of Tribal Relations within the Office of the Secretary.  Janie spoke on two program panels - one on Beginning Farmers and another on settlement of the longstanding USDA Discrimination cases.  Brandon is the Senior Advisor to Secretary Vilsack on farm programs, and he spoke on Beginning Farmer issues and USDA farm programs.

Nine of our LL.M. candidates attended the conference and displayed poster presentations on special topics of interest. They were involved in all the sessions, asking questions, meeting speakers and other attendees, and representing our program well.

Three of our Visiting Professors were in attendance. Neil Hamilton was there with a large group of his Drake students. He organized and moderated two sessions at the conference.  Phil Kunkel, Gray Plant Mooty, Minneapolis, MN received the association's highest honor, the Distinguished Service award, and David Grahn, Associate General Counsel, USDA received the Excellence in Agriculture Award.  All three of these impressive professors will be with us this Spring teaching condensed courses.

I am also pleased to report that I was awarded the association's 2011 Professional Scholarship Award for my article, A Reconsideration of Agricultural Law: A Call for the Law of Food, Farming, and Sustainability34 WM & MARY J. ENVTL L. & POL'Y REV. 935 (2010).

No comments: