Saturday, November 23, 2013

2014 Recruiting Begins - With a New Distance Option on the Horizon

Our new flyer for 2014 and a new recruiting poster are just back from the printer.

This year's theme is, "Practice what you eat."

To me, this sums up a lot of the interest in agricultural and food law studies. We all need food; we all eat; we all should care about our food system -  from the farm that produced it to the table that its served on.

Law plays a critical role in agriculture and throughout our food system.  Agricultural and food law attorneys - whether in practice, policy positions, executive positions, or teaching - all make an important impact on our food system.

We're proud of that.

We are also proud to announce that we have applied for approval to offer a distance degree option beginning with the Fall 2014 semester.  This option is being designed to accommodate a small number of experienced attorneys who cannot move to Fayetteville, but who want to be part of our network of students and alumni.

As an example of the types of attorneys that a distance option will serve, we are proud to have two particularly accomplished attorneys who are helping us to experiment with online delivery this year. As reported in the post, Welcome to the New LL.M. Class, Brian Mathison and Kelvin Stroud video-conference into my Food Law & Policy class this semester.  Brian is a Chemistry Instructor in the Department of Chemistry and Life Sciences at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, and Kelvin is a Legislative Assistant for Senator Mark Pryor in Washington, D.C.

Video conferencing allows a fully interactive classroom experience including the ability to ask and respond to questions. Outside of class, interaction is furthered through email, chat, discussion forums, and phone conversations. This year is our time to experiment, and we thank Brian and Kelvin for helping us initiate and improve our technology.

Ultimately, we will have a mix of classes -  synchronous classes with additional opportunities for online interaction; some courses that are primarily online, with interactive exercises and regular interaction with the professor; and, our condensed courses. The condensed courses, with one credit earned over 2-3 days of intense study, will be a time when we hope distance and in-residence students can meet in Fayetteville for face-to-face interaction.

We will, of course, continue to have our signature small-class experience in Fayetteville for 10-15 students. Living in Fayetteville and interacting with the other students in the class each year was a big part of the LL.M experience for many of our alumni. That tradition continues. Our distance students will enhance that tradition by sharing their practice experience and policy expertise with the class.

We have rolling admissions and accept applications until the class is filled.  We anticipate that demand will be strong for the 2014 class though, so if interested, please apply soon.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Alumnus and Candidate Collaboration - Lauren Bernadett Publishes in Fisheries Law Update

The Fisheries Law Centre, founded and directed by LL.M. alumnus Adam Soliman, recently published its Winter 2013 Fisheries Law Update.  The Updates target recent legal activity in the fisheries and aquaculture fields.  This is the second Update published by the Fisheries Law Centre since it was established in May 2013.

Lauren Bernadett, a current LL.M. candidate, contributed two articles to the Winter Update.  Her first article, "Florida Sues Georgia, Local Oyster Industry Caught in the Mix," on the front page of the Update, discusses the lawsuit over water rights that the State of Florida recently filed against the State of Georgia in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lauren's second article in the Update is a case commentary on Drakes Bay Oyster Co. v. Jewell, a lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit about the National Park Service's refusal to issue a special use permit that would allow the continued operation of Drakes Bay Oyster Company.  This article is on page ten of the Update.

The Update, including both of Lauren's articles, can be found on the Fisheries Law Centre's Publications page.

LL.M. Candidate A-dae Romero Publishes News Article

A-dae Romero, a current LL.M. candidate, published an article with Indian Country Today titled Taste of Sovereignty: The Need to Protect Tribal Food Systems.

The news article discusses the history of tribal food systems, food safety, and suggestions for defending cultural food systems.

Concerns regarding the FDA proposed rules affecting farm produce have launched A-dae into a leadership role in research and writing about Native community food interests and ways to protect Native agriculture.  This article is one of a series of recent articles on these complex issues.

We are proud of the work that A-dae has done in this area and encourage all of our students to take a stand on issues that matter to them, regardless of what side of the issue they represent.  We are proud of the leadership she has shown on this controversial issue.

Birth Announcement

The LL.M. Program is pleased to announce the arrival of three new babies. Recent LL.M. Candidates Andy Frame, Nicole Civita, and Thamer Alshehail, all from the class of 2012, added a new member to their families last month. Congratulations to all!

Rowan, Son of Nicole Civita and Doug Hallam
Sybil, Daughter of Andy and Anna Frame


Mohammed, Son of Thamer Alshehail and Nouf Almasoud

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Alumni News-Andy Frame

We are pleased to report that recent LL.M. Graduate Andy Frame has accepted a position with Adams and Reese LLP. The press release announcing Andy's position is below.

Andrew “Andy” D. Frame has joined the law firm as an associate in its Jackson office and as a member of the Transactions practice group. Frame has an LL.M. degree in Agricultural and Food Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law, where he had a graduate assistantship as a legal correspondent for Food Safety News. He formerly served as a judicial intern for the Mississippi Supreme Court and interned for the Office of Indigent Appeals in Jackson. Frame earned his law degree from Mississippi College School of Law and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a concentration in business from Auburn University.

Congratulations Andy!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A-dae Romero Writes Guide on FSMA Produce Safety Regulation Analysis for Tribes

LL.M. candidate A-dae Romero wrote a guide to help tribes navigate the FDA's proposed produce safety rules in the Food Safety Modernization Act.  A-dae's guide will help tribes understand the proposed rules' implications on tribal food business and agriculture.  The proposed rules could be problematic for tribes because the rules don't specifically address tribes, so tribes need to carefully consider the implications of these rules on their food businesses and agriculture.

Access A-dae's guide, titled "Protecting Tribal Farmers, Food and Sovereignty: An Analysis of the Food Safety Modernization Act Review and Proposed FDA Article 4 Produce Safety Rules" at this link:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Appreciation to our LL.M. Veterans

We are proud to honor and to thank the three military veterans that are in this year's current LL.M. class. They are outstanding professionals that have served and continue to serve our nation well.  Thank you, Brian, Wes, and Mark, for your service.

Brian Mathison is enrolled as a part time online candidate, while he serves full time as an Instructor in the Department of Chemistry and Life Sciences at the United States Military Academy, West Point.
Brian's military experience includes:
Administrative and Operational Law Attorney, Joint Special Operations Task Force, Afghanistan
Trial Counsel, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Ft. Bliss, Texas
Trial Counsel, Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Daegu, Korea
Deputy Legal Advisor, Joint Task Force-North (JTF-N), Ft. Bliss, Texas
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA), Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Ft. Bliss, Texas
Legal Assistance Attorney, Tax Center Officer-in-Charge.

Wes Ward is enrolled as a full time LL.M. candidate and is participating in our joint degree program with the Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences working on his masters degree Agricultural Economics at the same time.  Wes is a Member of the Marine Corps Reserve and an Officer with the 3rd Civil Affairs Group in Great Lakes, Illinois.  He is a former Battalion Judge Advocate, United States Marine Corps. His military experience also includes:
Operational Law Attorney (detainee cases)
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, Federal Magistrate Court
Civil Law Attorney, Tort Claims Office for Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton
Assistant Trial Counsel, Special Court Martial cases.

Mark Cohen is a practicing attorney from Colorado, enrolled as a full time LL.M. candidate.  As a Captain in the U.S. Air Force, he served as Judge Advocate representing the United States in trials by court-martial.  He served as Chief of Military Justice, Base Claims Officer, and Government Contracts counsel.  And, he was honored by the American Bar Association as the Outstanding Young Military Service Lawyer in 1986.

Thanks as well to all of the many veterans that are alumni of our LL.M. Program.  Happy Veterans Day!  We appreciation your service.

A-dae Romero Co-Publishes Article on Impact of SNAP Cuts on American Indians

LL.M. candidate A-dae Romero made another stride in her impressive contributions to discussions on how food and agricultural law affects American Indians.  She and co-author Raymond Foxworth, a Ph.D. candidate at CU-Boulder, published "Snatching Food from the Mouths of Babies: SNAP Cuts" in Indian Country Today.  Indian Country Today is the largest media platform in Indian Country.

The article details the effects of the November 1 SNAP cuts on American Indians, a group that will be hit especially hard by these cuts.  The article discusses these troubling statistics:
  • "In 2010, 24 percent of all American Indian households in the United States received SNAP benefits, compared to roughly 13 percent of all U.S. households."
  • ". . . one in every four American Indians is food insecure [and] one in three American Indian children are food insecure."
  • " . . . almost every American Indian reservation is classified as a 'food desert,' meaning that access to affordable and quality healthy food is extremely difficult."
  • "In Indian country, where the price of food is already higher than in urban areas and where the cost of traveling to food centers put additional expenses on food, these cuts will have exponential effects on already vulnerable Indian families and seniors.  For example, while the average cost of a gallon of milk is $3.50 in a typical American city, on reservations in New Mexico the cost is $4.95 and over $10 in Alaska native communities."
The article also questions government savings from SNAP cuts.  It points out that "food insecurity and obesity rates are strongly linked" and "that obese individuals pay $1,723 more a year in health care costs than an average-weight person."  As most SNAP participants use publicly-funded health care, the article questions whether the cuts will cause any net savings or if they merely divert money from the poor to the medical industry.

The article cited to an earlier article on the effects of SNAP cuts by LL.M. candidate Erin Shirl. Erin's research showed that over 51 percent of SNAP recipients are still food insecure.

Watch for more of A-dae's work on this and similar topics throughout the rest of the academic year.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

LL.M. Program Welcomes Professor Allen Olson

Beginning Monday, November 11, Professor Allen Olson will be teaching his practice-oriented condensed course involving farm programs and crop insurance.  We are pleased to welcome Allen back to Fayetteville and will be pleased to introduce him to this year's class.

Professor Olson is an experienced agricultural lawyer with a national reputation for his work. His practice is based in Albany, Georgia, and his representation is concentrated on federal farm programs, payment limitations, USDA administrative appeals, crop insurance litigation, conservation easements, farm business planning, farm bankruptcies, water law, and other matters affecting farmers and related agricultural businesses.

Professor Olson received his B.A. from Cornell University, his J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law, and his LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law. He practiced law in Virginia and Nebraska and taught in the LL.M. Program at the University of Arkansas School of Law prior to moving to South Georgia in 2001. He has over 30 years of experience as a practicing lawyer in addition to his time spent teaching. He currently represents farmers throughout Georgia and nationwide.

Professor Olson is a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Agricultural Law Association and is a past Chair of the Agriculture Law Section of the Georgia State Bar. He is the author of numerous articles on agricultural law topics, including Allen H. Olson, “Federal Farm Programs — Past, Present And Future — Will We Learn From Our Mistakes?”, 6 Great Plains Nat. Resources J. 1 (2001).

Friday, November 8, 2013

LL.M.s Involved with Urban Agriculture City Ordinance Changes

On October 24th, four LL.M. candidates—Jeremy Baker, Kathryn Smith, A-dae Romero, and Lauren Bernadett—attended a meeting discussing current proposals to amend Fayetteville city ordinances related to urban agriculture.  City Councilmember Matthew Petty and Peter Nierengarten, the Director of Sustainability and Strategic Planning for the City of Fayetteville who helped develop the proposed ordinance, led the meeting for Ward 2, the second of four meetings on the topic. 

The proposed changes aim to support community food security by making Fayetteville more friendly to urban agriculture, which is very limited under the current ordinances.  The proposal includes provisions the would allow residents to raise bees and goats (only female dwarf or pygmy goats) on their property.  It would also increase the number of fowl allowed on larger lots in Fayetteville, although roosters are still not permitted under the proposed ordinance.  It also expands residents’ ability to sell food from the site where it is grown.  For example, home sales of agricultural products would be allowed under the rules for garage sales in the city ordinance.  The proposed ordinance would not supersede any existing subdivision covenants. 

LL.M. alumna Nicole Civita, who is now a visiting assistant professor with the LL.M. program, was among a small group of experts and stakeholders who helped develop the proposed revisions to the urban agriculture ordinance.  A-dae also attended an earlier stakeholder meeting about the revisions.

The meeting was held at Tri Cycle Farms, a small sustainable farm near the University campus.  Tri Cycle’s business model is unique in that it sells one-third of the food harvested from the farm, gives one-third to the farm volunteers, and donates one-third to local food pantries and community meals.  The farm’s owner, Don Bennett, led last year’s LL.M. class on a tour of the farm and has graciously invited this year’s class to the same tour in the future. 

We are excited that our LL.M.s were involved with this local urban agriculture initiative and look forward to following the ordinance’s progress.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

LL.M. Candidates Attend and Present at National Congress of American Indians Convention

We are always excited to see our LL.M. candidates involved in local and national food law affairs, especially when they're just a short drive away!  Last month, the 70th Annual National Congress of American Indians Convention took place on October 13-18 in Tulsa.  Two of our LL.M. candidates, Ruth McLain and A-dae Romero, had the opportunity to attend two days of the convention, and A-dae was featured as a speaker on a food law panel.  They had very positive experiences to report back.

The convention is held every year to discuss issues and vote on policy matters affecting American Indians.  There were many meetings and panels at the convention and attendees traveled from every part of the country to attend.

A-dae was featured as a speaker on a panel titled "The Future of Native Foods: Sovereignty, Safety, and Sustainability."  The panel focused on food sovereignty and sustainability, including discussions about food system control, preparing for the Food Safety Modernization Act regulations, and the implications of the status of the Farm Bill for American Indians.  A-dae spoke specifically about the economics of food in Tribal communities.

Ruth and A-dae are also taking Dean Stacy Leeds' American Indian Law class this semester and will continue to be involved in the American Indian community.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Stephanie Dzur Elected to Board of Directors of Rio Grande Community Farm

We are pleased to announce another exciting alumni update!  LL.M. alumna Stephanie Dzur was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Rio Grande Community Farm, a not-for-profit community farm on public lands in New Mexico.
Photo Credit: Rio Grande Community Farm.  Members delivering fresh produce to Albuquerque public schools.

Rio Grande Community Farm is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation located on 138 acres in the Los Poblanos Fields Open Space in the North Valley of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The group is in a partnership with the City of Albuquerque's Open Space Division, which acquired the land in 1995 in an effort to preserve the last farmland in the North Valley.  Rio Grande Community Farm was founded two years later to undertake management of 50 acres of the urban farmland.

The farm boasts community gardens, wildlife habitat, and certified organic croplands.  The healthy, organic food that is grown on the farm goes to schools, restaurants, and stores in Albuquerque.  The farm also provides a place for community service projects, recreation, and educational experiences for school, social, church, and corporate groups through the farm's service learning programs.  The farms also hosts annual events, including harvest festivals and the Maize Maze.

To learn more about Rio Grande Community Farm, visit its website at

Congratulations on your new position, Stephanie, and good luck!

Update: Fisheries Law Non-Profit / LL.M. Alum Adam Soliman

Adam Soliman, Director and Founder of the Fisheries Law Centre
Earlier this year, LL.M. alumnus Adam Soliman (‘13) graduated from the LL.M. Program and promptly founded the Fisheries Law Centre (FLC), a non-profit research center based out of Vancouver, Canada.  You can find our earlier blog announcing Adam's formation of FLC here.  We want to update readers on the impressive progress that Adam has made with FLC in the last six months.

Since May, FLC has grown to include a staff attorney, research fellows, and research assistants from all over the world.  Over the summer, Adam published FLC’s first issue of the Fisheries Law Update, a quarterly publication highlighting recent developments in fisheries and seafood regulations.  In a collaboration between current and past LL.M. students, LL.M. candidate Lauren Bernadett (‘14) contributed two articles to the fall issue of the Update.

Lauren also teamed with other FLC contributors to develop and write a legal guide to community supported fisheries in Canada.  The guide will help fishermen and NGOs better understand the benefits and necessary considerations of starting a community supported fishery, a business model that is growing in popularity.

FLC is developing a unique, international model for a summer internship program.  The interns will complete a training program on jurisdiction-specific fisheries law hosted by FLC or a partner university.  Adam is currently discussing an educational partnership agreement for the internship program with two international universities.  After completing the fisheries law training, the intern will be placed with a host NGO that partners with FLC to work on fisheries law projects.  FLC hopes to be able to completely fund this program in the future.

Adam with professors at Dalian Maritime University in China
Adam has been extremely busy on behalf of FLC.  He recently lectured at the University of British Columbia on environmental stewardship and at the University of Hong Kong on seafood fraud.  At the World Seafood Congress in Newfoundland, he presented on the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization’s voluntary guidelines to sustainable, small-scale fisheries and the gap in access to justice for these fisheries.  He also presented on seafood fraud at the Food and Drug Law Institute’s annual conference in Beijing and on fisheries stewardship and access to justice at the BFAR-NFRDI Conference in Manila.

Adam will be equally busy in the future.  He will be presenting at a conference in Hyderabad, at a special session of the Coastal Zones Canada Conference, and at a food law session of the International Food Safety Conference in Hong Kong.  Between these presentations, developing the summer intern program, and FLC's other activities, we are sure that Adam will continue to develop FLC into an impressive new organization. 

Congratulations on your accomplishments to date, Adam, and keep up the good work!