Thursday, July 25, 2013

LL.M. Program and Indigenous Initiative in the News

The University of Arkansas School of Law and the LL.M. Program in Ag & Food Law had a great week in the news -

I assisted Rebecca Jeffrey, a reporter for one of the local television stations, as she tried to figure out what was going on with the Farm Bill.  While that's a tough task, she followed my "walk through" of the 2012 extension, the 2013 Senate Bill, and the recently passed House Bill. She decided to focus on the House decision to split off the nutrition programs and the impact of future cuts proposed to the food assistance programs. For the televised segment, she visited the Fayetteville Farmers' Market to talk to farmers and the market manager. She asked me to meet her there for a short interview. You can see the segment at What the Farm Bill Means to You.

I blogged on this issue earlier this week, expressing my personal thoughts on the issue, with posts on the agricultural law professor's blog, Agricultural Law and also on the Rodale Institute Dig Deeper blog.

The Law School's ground-breaking Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative received some fantastic shout-outs in the press this week.  Director of the Program (and LL.M. Alumnus) Janie Hipp has been doing a great job, and generating a lot of good publicity.

This month's cover story in the magazine Diversity and the Bar was Return of the Farmer: Native Law Educators Growing Agriculture Policy in Indian Country. The article highlights the history of accomplishments credited to Dean Stacy Leeds and Initiative Director, Janie Hipp, who have done much to address Native American legal issues, particularly in the area of agricultural and rural development. The article highlights the Initiative as filling a "void in legal education" and discusses some of its goals looking forward.

USDA photo courtesy of Bob Nichols
The USDA recognized one of the recent Initiative projects in a blog post this week, Native American FFA Members Discuss the Future of Agriculture with USDA Officials.  Two Native American Future Farmers of America (FFA) members had the opportunity to visit Washington to discuss agricultural policy with officials at the USDA. Pictured to the left is Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse (center) with Native American FFA Students: Hannah Nichols (left), Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana and Jessica Wahnee (Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla.) (right).  The Initiative worked with Farm Credit Counsel in sponsoring this trip.

Lots of good news featuring the Law School as well -  Dean Leeds was interviewed by reporters for NW Arkansas Online who produced the video, Profile of Stacy Leeds as a teaser to the full, complementary profile that appeared in Sunday's Democrat Gazette (sorry - no link, subscriber only).

And, our law faculty are in the news commenting on current legal issues and providing expert analysis on a regular basis.  For example, just this week, Professor Laurent Sacharoff published an editorial in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette analyzing the conflicting interpretations of Arkansas' new "open carry" gun law, The Discussion Isn’t Over On Openly Carrying Guns.

Good times at the law school as we prepare to welcome the Class of 2014 to the LL.M. Program. I will be posting about our excellent group of incoming LL.M. Candidates in a couple weeks.  Stay tuned. And, alums out there -  let us know what you are doing so we can spread the word.

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