Sunday, January 19, 2014

Spring Semester Schedule

Those interested in learning more about the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law as well as our friends and alumni, are usually interested in what classes we are offering.  This semester, we are pleased to be trying out some new scheduling and offering the first of a number of new courses under development. 

As is reflected in the chart below, we have our usual full semester classes, such as Agricultural Perspectives, our always-popular and thought-provoking look at U.S. agricultural history using documentaries and readings.  

We also have our usual condensed courses, such as the amazing look at the impact of the budget on the development of federal farm policy that USDA Associate General Counsel David Grahn offers in Farm Policy and the Federal Budget. These condensed courses meet over several days of intense study. 

We are also offering classes that meet for only 7-weeks at the beginning or at the end of the semester, as well as special two-week semi-condensed classes.  All of this allows us to develop a schedule that allows us to introduce our students to a wide range of interesting topics without having to study everything at once.  

Our schedule also usually allows at least one work day per week without classes (typically Monday), providing students with an opportunity to focus on their research and writing or special projects. 

New classes include Food Justice, taught by Professor Nicole Civita and Intellectual Property Issues in Agriculture and Food Law, taught by Professor Uche Ewelukwa, and Local/Regional Food Systems & the Law, taught by Professor Neil Hamilton.

This year, we are also providing additional experiential opportunities, with externships in food safety and compliance at Wal-mart and an experiential independent study with the Sustainability Consortium involving life cycle analysis for food products.  We hope to have additional opportunities with non-profit organizations and agencies next year.  Our work with the Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative and the Food Recovery Project  continues as well. 

LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law
Schedule of Specialized LL.M. Courses
Spring 2014

Course Title
Course Description
Required Courses
Agricultural Perspectives
Wednesdays, 10:00 – 12:00 (except for condensed course weeks)
Agriculture has a rich and varied history, and today’s issues are often best understood in the context of this history.  This course examines a wide range of social and economic issues, considering their origin and how history is reflected in today’s policies. The course includes a series of documentaries. 
Advanced Writing in Agricultural & Food Law
Thursdays, 11:10 – 12:00 (may not meet every week – TBA)
Research in a specialized area of agricultural or food law and development of a paper that demonstrates rigorous legal analysis and quality legal writing.

Elective Courses

Local/Regional Food Systems & the Law
Condensed Course March 17 – 20
This course examines recent efforts to re-establish local and regional food systems and explores the attendant legal and policy issues.
Farm Policy & the Federal Budget
Condensed Course January 20 – 22
Face-to-face condensed class featuring David Grahn, USDA, OGC and focusing on the impact of budgetary rules and restrictions on policy making at the federal level;  this will be a particularly timely session;  it will be offered over 2 condensed days of class
Regulation of Livestock Marketing & Sales
Fridays, 8:10 – 9:50
Jan. 17 – Feb. 14
Mar. 7 – Mar. 14
Study of the regulation of livestock and poultry sales under the Packers and Stockyards Act, with a particular focus on production contracting, mandatory price reporting, industry concentration, and anti-trust issues.
Agricultural Water Law
Thursdays, 9:00 – 10:40
Jan. 16 – Feb. 13
Mar. 6 – Mar. 13
Study of the basic legal principles applicable to water rights through consideration of water rights for agricultural use.
Agricultural Finance & Credit
Fridays, 10:00 – 11:40
Jan. 17 – Feb. 14
Mar. 7 – Mar. 14
Study of the legal issues surrounding the financing of agricultural operations, including credit availability, agricultural security issues under the Uniform Commercial Code, and debt restructuring opportunities. Special focus is on lending options offered by the Farm Service Agency and the Farm Credit System.
Regulated Markets in Agriculture
Tuesdays, 9:00 – 10:40
Jan. 14 – Feb. 14
Mar. 4 – Mar. 11
Study of the economic regulation of specific sectors of the agricultural industry focusing on perishable agricultural commodities (fruits & vegetables), and dairy products. Included is the study of formal and informal administrative review. Note -  this class will introduce Marketing Orders in the fruit & vegetable industries as well as the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA)
Selected Issues in International Agriculture and Food Law
Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:00 – 11:00
April 1 – 24 ( except no class on April 3)
An eclectic survey of some of the most important emerging issues in the international food production, including for example, land tenure and “land grabbing,” and water use and water scarcity
Intellectual Property Issues in Agriculture and Food Law
Condensed Course
Tuesday – Friday, Feb. 18 – 28
1:00 – 3:00
The goal of this course will be to demystify intellectual property law and introduce students to key issues and developments in the areas of Copyright Law, Trademarks Law and Patent Law  that pertain to agriculture and food.  It will consider issues from Trademark Law, such as Certification Marks (e.g. Idaho Potatoes), Geographical Indicators (e.g. Rooibos Tea; Grana Padano cheese), Trade Dress (e.g. whether the shape of an Easter chocolate bunny is protectable under trademark law).  It will also address issues from Copyright Law including copyright laws on food recipes as well as copyright laws on food labeling.  Issues from Design Patent are also involved. U.S. Design patents are classified into 33 classes of subject matter and 5 of those subject matters are related to food and agricultural law.
Food Justice
Thursdays, 1:00 – 3:00
April 3 - 24
Survey of the legal and policy issues raised by the food justice movement. Topics covered include food insecurity and poverty, public health concerns such as obesity, the economics of healthy eating, food deserts, and food waste.
Agricultural Bankruptcy
Condensed Course
Tuesday -  Friday, Feb. 18 – 28
9:00 – 11:00

Introduction to bankruptcy through consideration of farm financial stress and agricultural bankruptcy, including focus on Chapter 12 reorganization

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