Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chris Saunders Awarded Henry Law Firm Assistantship

We are pleased to announce the 2011-12 public/private partnerships that connect the LL.M. Program with leaders in the food and agricultural law communities. This partnership allows us to offer three graduate assistantships, matching our candidates with law firms and agencies working on the cutting edge of our food system.

Three distinguished law firms, Bassett Law Firm LLP, the Marler Clark Law Firm, and the Henry Law FIrm are our partners in the program this year, and their participation is indeed an honor for us.  This post announces the Henry Law Firm Graduate Assistantship.

The Henry Law Firm in Fayetteville, Arkansas has a primary focus on intellectual property and agricultural law, offering extensive patent, trademark and copyright protection services.

The firm is led by Mark Murphey Henry, a Registered Patent Attorney.  Mark is an alumnus of the University of Arkansas School of Law, receiving his J.D., with honors and his LL.M. degree in Agricultural Law.   Mark is admitted to practice in six states - Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kentucky, and Missouri and was recently featured in the SuperLawyers Mid-South edition.  He has been recognized for his leadership and innovation in intellectual property law and for his pro bono work as well.  He is a popular adjunct in the LL.M. program teaching Agricultural Biotechnology each Spring semester.  This is the first year that the Henry Law Firm has participated in our graduate assistantship program, and we are delighted to include them.

Chris Saunders is the recipient of the Henry Law Firm Graduate Assistantship.  Chris received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from North Carolina State University.  He received his J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 2011.  He co-authored a presentation at 2010 American Agricultural Law Association Symposium, Solar Energy: Is It Really A Bright Idea for Farmers? with Ray Starling, General Counsel, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  His professional experience includes work with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.

Congratulations, Chris, and our appreciation to The Henry Law Firm!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kristy Boehler Awarded Bassett Law Firm Graduate Assistantship

We are pleased to announce the 2011-12 public/private partnerships that connect the LL.M. Program with leaders in the food and agricultural law communities. This partnership allows us to offer three graduate assistantships, matching our candidates with law firms and agencies working on the cutting edge of our food system.

Three distinguished law firms, Bassett Law Firm LLP, the Marler Clark Law Firm, and the Henry Law FIrm are our partners in the program this year, and their participation is indeed an honor for us.  This post announces the Bassett Law Firm Graduate Assistantship.

Bassett Law Firm LLP, located in Fayetteville, serves clients in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. Since the firm’s founding in October 1981 by the late Bill Bassett and his two sons, Woody and Tod, Bassett Law Firm LLP has enjoyed many accomplishments and sustained growth. The foundation of the firm has been and remains its commitment to the service of its clients, the profession, and the community.

Included in a wide range of community service, Bassett Law Firm LLP has been a particular friend to the University of Arkansas School of Law. The firm annually sponsors the Trial Advocacy scholarship prize to a J.D. student selected by the law faculty. And, thanks to a generous $100,000 gift from the firm, the law school is proud to have its premier W.W. Bassett, Jr. Classroom.

Agricultural Law is a significant practice area for Bassett Law Firm LLP. Partner, Vince Chadick and firm attorney, K.C. Tucker are both graduates of the LL.M. Program in Agricultural Law. A number of LL.M. candidates have clerked at the firm. Vince Chadick is a popular adjunct professor in the LL.M. Program, teaching Regulation of Livestock Sales each fall.

Kristy Boehler is the recipient of the 2011-12 Bassett Law Firm Graduate Assistantship.  Kristy is an Arkansas native who received her B.A., cum laude,  from Drake University, with majors in Political Science and Law, as well as Politics and Society.  She returned to Arkansas to attend the University of Arkansas School of Law, and she received her J.D. degree last Spring, graduating summa cum laude and as the 3rd highest in her class.

In law school, Kristy was a member of the Arkansas Law Review, and she authored the article,  Poultry Growers in Arkansas: Agents or Independent Contractors? published at 63 Ark. L. Rev. 849 (2010).

Congratulations to Krisy, and our thanks to the Bassett Law Firm.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Alli Condra Awarded Marler Clark Graduate Assistantship

We are pleased to announce the 2011-12 public/private partnerships that connect the LL.M. Program with leaders in the food and agricultural law communities. This partnership allows us to offer graduate assistantships, matching our candidates with law firms and agencies working on the cutting edge of our food system.

Three distinguished law firms, the Marler Clark Law Firm, Bassett Law Firm LLP, and the Henry Law Firm are our partners in the program this year, and their participation is indeed an honor for us.  This post announces Alli Condra as the Marler Clark Graduate Assistantship recipient.

Marler Clark is recognized as the nation’s foremost law firm representing victims of foodborne illness. Since 1998, Marler Clark attorneys have been involved in almost all of the major food poisoning cases in the U.S., representing victims of Campylobacter, E. coli O157:H7, Hepatitis A, Listeria, Norovirus, Salmonella, and Shigella outbreaks across the country.

Bill Marler, one of the founders of Marler Clark is an internationally recognized leader in food safety. Bill has been a tireless supporter of the reform of our food safety laws, through frequent media interviews, the very popular Marler Blog, his active Twitter feed, @bmarler and his "Put a Trial Lawyer Out of Business" campaign. He was instrumental to the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act and for the USDA's recent declaration of additional E. coli pathogens as adulterants.  His start in food safety litigation is chronicled in the new book, Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E.Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat.

Bill Marler and Marler Clark are the founders of the acclaimed online national daily newspaper, Food Safety News, that reports on food safety, food law, and related issues.   The Marler Clark Graduate Assistantship provides writing experience with Food Safety News.

Bill will be teaching Food Safety Litigation in the LL.M. Program this Fall. His generous contribution to the LL.M. Program also provides general support to our graduate assistantship program and to the LL.M. Program.

Alli Condra is the 2011-12 recipient of the Marler Clark Graduate Assistantship.  Alli is a native of California and received her B.A. degree from California Lutheran University,  majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Pre-Naturopathic Medicine. After graduating from CLU, Alli moved to Mexico City for a year to work with migrants and refugees at a non-profit, Sin Fronteras. While there, Alli studied food security among the migrants and refugees with the hopes of increasing funding for food from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.  She attended Drake University Law School and obtained her J.D. degree last spring with High Honors. She was awarded a  Certificate in Food & Agricultural Law. Alli was the winner of 2011 Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation Writing Competition from the University of Oregon School of Law.  As part of her assistantship duties, Alli has already published two articles on Food Safety News, FDA Import Alerts: A Primer, and Harvard Steps Up to the Healthy Eating Plate.

Our congratulations to Alli, and our thanks to Bill Marler and to Marler Clark.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Video Conference with Senior USDA Official, Brandon Willis

This morning, our Food, Farming, & Sustainability class had the opportunity to hear from one of our alumni, Brandon Willis via digital video conference.  Since attending the LL.M. Program, Brandon has had a distinguished career in Washington, D.C.  He served as the Agriculture Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Max Baucus (2006-2009) and during that time drafted floor statements on agricultural issues and worked closely on legislation – including the 2008 Farm Bill, with a particular focus on the livestock disaster programs.  He also drafted legislation that supported the use of existing conservation programs to help fight the declining population of pollinators.

Brandon then served as a confidential assistant in USDA’s Office of the Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services.  He was elevated to the position of Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs (DAFP), overseeing all FSA programs under the Production Emergencies and Compliance Division (PECD), Conservation and Environmental Programs Division (CEPD), and Price Support Division (PSD).

Brandon recently accepted the position of Special Advisor to USDA Secretary Vilsack on farm programs and crop insurance issues.

The class had an opportunity to talk with Brandon about farm policy, current issues regarding the budget deficit and cuts to farm programs, and the 2012 Farm Bill.  He did a great job explaining the programs and the current political climate to the class.

Our thanks is extended to Brandon for doing a great job!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Meeting the Slow Food Value Meal Challenge

In response to a lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables, people eating more fast food than home-cooked meals, and increasing rates of diet-related disease, Slow Food USA launched The $5 Challenge campaign. The organization, a national non-profit working for good, clean and fair food for all, is encouraging people across the country to cook slow food that costs no more than five dollars per person. Slow food – the opposite of fast food – is food that is good for those who eat it, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet.
“Slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food. It’s time we take back the ‘Value Meal,’” said Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA.On Sept. 17, the campaign will launch with a Day of Action where people can attend any one of the hundreds of slow food gatherings nationwide. To participate in The $5 Challenge, all one has to do is pledge to cook a slow food meal for five dollars or less, or attend a local event.

I am pleased to report that thanks to Martha Dragich, Visiting Scholar and LL.M. Candidate, the LL.M. program met the Slow Food Value Meal Challenge last Saturday with a wonderful meal.  It was a delightful gathering and a great opportunity for us all to get to know one another better, to enjoy good local food, and to prove that preparing and eating good food together can be enjoyable AND very affordable.

Martha prepared a menu for us, indicating not only what she was serving but what the ingredients were and where all the food was sourced.  It was delicious!!

Tomato-Braised Spareribs & Sausages
Spareribs & Sweet Apple Sausages: Mason Creek Farm; Onions & Carrots:          Fayetteville Farmers’ Market vendors; San Marzano tomatoes (canned): grown in the USA!
Polenta: Ozark Natural Foods (bulk, organic)
Italian-Style Chickpeas
Chickpeas: Ozark Natural Foods (bulk, organic); onions & tomatoes: Fayetteville Farmers’ Market vendors; garlic (organic): Chert Hollow Farm (Columbia, MO); herbs: my patio (Columbia, MO)
Braised Swiss Chard (and a bit of savoy cabbage)
Chard (organic) & onion: Fayetteville Farmers’ Market vendors; garlic & savoy cabbage (both organic): Chert Hollow Farm (Columbia, MO)
Parmigiano Reggiano & Pecorino Romano (optional)
Imported from Italy, via World Harvest Foods (Columbia, MO)
Olive Oil Cake with Sauteed Apples & Pears
Cornmeal: War Eagle Mill (organic); eggs & pears (both organic): JJR Family Farm (Columbia, MO); honey: Bonne Femme Honey Farm (Columbia, MO); apples: Binder’s Apple & Berry Farm (Columbia, MO); milk (organic): Green Hills Dairy (MO); flour, sugar, & baking powder: Big Food companies; olive oil: Sicily.

Here are some of Martha's favorite strategies for preparing an affordable, yet delicious meal:

1. Eliminate one course (usually either appetizer or dessert).

2. Plan for reasonable portion sizes.

3. Use meat sparingly.

4. Use grains and beans to make the meal substantial.

5. Cook simply, using a small number of top-quality ingredients.

6. Learn how to get the most flavor from each ingredient.

7. Use strongly flavored ingredients, in small amounts.

8. Use all parts of each ingredient.

9. Use what you have on hand (staples, leftovers, foods you have preserved, etc.).

10. Buy in bulk (rather than in packages), and buy raw ingredients rather than partially-prepared foods.

Here are some photos from the event, including help with preparation of the meal from LL.M. candidates, Volha Samasiuk, Alli Condra, Ashley Newhall, and Gina Cucurullo.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rural Friendship Development Day

A number of the LL.M. candidates participated in a local event last week, Rural Friendship Development Day. The event began with breakfast at Farm Bureau Insurance followed by a series of speakers who addressed our local food system. Included were representatives from Wal-mart's local food initiative, Harps, a regional employee-owned grocery store chain, and Ozark Natural Foods, the local food cooperative. Each discussed how locally grown fresh produce is bought and marketed in their stores, and the impact of this on our community.  Participants then toured two area farms Cobblestone Project Farm and MWD Farms.  The Cobblestone Project Farm in Fayetteville is a special initiative designed to use agriculture to help the under-resourced in Northwest Arkansas by focusing on Hunger Relief, Education, Economic Development, Community, Food Production and Sustainability.  MWD Farms in Prairie Grove is a local family farm that now markets its produce through Walmart.

The LL.M. candidates thoroughly enjoyed the event and came back with many interesting issues to discuss.

As most of our LL.M. candidates come from out of state, we are always pleased to have opportunities for them to learn more about our community.  We are proud, and they are sometimes surprised at all that   Fayetteville has to offer.  Special thanks to Julianne Darnell, the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Manager of Communications for her efforts in organizing the event.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Agricultural Law Around the World

In past classes, we have been discussing family farming, industrialized production, and agrarianism in the context of the historical development of our agricultural sector and our food system.  Concerns regarding  sustainability, global food production, and natural resource consumption informed our understanding of the issues.  The LL.M. candidates have raised many important points, debated the issues, and we have had some wonderful class discussions.

On Friday, we had a special treat -  our two candidates with their law degrees outside of the United States gave us presentations on agriculture in their home countries.

Mirriam Kutha (Kalowa) presented on agriculture in Malawi.  Mirriam obtained her LL.B., with Honors, Upper Second Class, from the University of Malawi.  Her professional experience includes: Assistant Lecturer in Law, University of Malawi; Senior Resident Magistrate, Malawi; Internships include work with the Malawi Human Rights Commission and the Ministry of Justice (Legal Aid Dept.) Her dissertation was titled The Effects of the Proposed Amendments to Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code in Relation to Sexual Offenses. She is a past president of the Women’s Lawyers Association of Malawi.

As Mirriam told the class, The Republic of Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa bordered by Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique.  One geographic feature is its large and beautiful Lake Malawi. Mirriam's excellent presentation included information about farming in Malawi, the absence of modern technology, and recent struggles to maintain food security.  Of particular interest was her discussion of Malawi's divergence from internationally imposed goals focusing on export markets, to instead focus on domestic food security.

Volha Samasiuk presented on agriculture in her home country of Belarus.  Volha received her Diploma in Law with a specialization in Economic Law, and her Doctor of Philosophy in Law from Belarusian State University.  Her professional experience includes: Senior Lecturer, Belarusian State University Law Department, Minsk, Belarus (Civil Law, Intellectual Property Law); Legal Consultant, Belarus Food Safety Improvement Project, International Finance Corporation, The World Bank Group; Legal Editor and Member of the Editorial Board, JurSpectr LLC, Minsk, Belarus; Visiting Scholar, University of Washington School of Law; and Curriculum Research Fellow, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.

 Belarus is a country in Eastern Europe bordering Russia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine. A former member state of the U.S.S.R., the government of Belarus continues to hold significant economic control.  Volha discussed the three different farming systems - the collectively held land farmed according to government production goals, the small family farm sector, and the private plots farmed by many citizens.  She also discussed the many acres of agricultural land that is still contaminated as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear explosion in Ukraine in 1986.

Appreciation is extended to Mirriam and Volha for doing such a good job teaching us a little about Malawi and Belarus.  We hope that this will be the first of many opportunities for us to learn from them.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Professor Kelley's International Law Work Noted

On Today's University of Arkansas Newswire, an article by Andy Albertson:

Christopher Kelley, a law professor at the University of Arkansas who recently returned from his Fulbright Fellowship in Moldova, was named vice-chair of the American Bar Association Section of International Law's International Legal Education and Specialist Certification Committee, effective Sept. 1. Kelley also became the immediate past co-chair of the ABA Section of International Law Russia/Eurasia Committee after serving for three years as a committee co-chair.

"Professor Kelley's work is consistent with the proud University of Arkansas tradition of international outreach, in the spirit of Senator Fulbright's vision," said Stacy L. Leeds, dean of the School of Law. “His leadership within the ABA and his series of digital video conferences bring remarkable opportunities for our students and faculty not only to share what the School of Law has to offer, but to build the international experience vital for success in an increasingly global law community.”

Kelley, who also was a Fulbright Scholar in Ukraine in 2005, has a role in several upcoming conferences related to international law. He will serve as conference deputy co-chair for the ABA Section of International Law's Third Annual Conference on the Resolution of CIS-Related Business Disputes to be held in Moscow, Russian Federation, on Sept. 12.

On Sept. 30, he will make a presentation on effects on transnational law practice of anti-corruption initiatives such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the new U.K. anti-bribery law at the Conference on the Globalization of Law Practice sponsored by Vytautus Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Two weeks later, Kelley will serve as the moderator for a panel on Legal Employment in a Recessionary Economy: The Needs of Employers and Prospects for Transnational Lawyers at the ABA Section of International Law fall meeting in Dublin, Ireland.

At the School of Law, Kelley will continue to teach courses this semester via digital video conferencing to law students at Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv, Ukraine, and at the Law Faculty of Moldova State University in Chisinau, Moldova. He also is planning to teach students at the Institute of International Relations of Moldova through digital video conferencing.

And, yes, Professor Kelley continues to teach in the LL.M. Program!  This semester he is teaching Agriculture & the Environment.  In addition to covering U.S. environmental law, he is able to weave his international perspectives and expertise into a consideration of the global sustainability issues associated with agricultural production.   He also teaches Administrative Law in the J.D. Program.