Friday, February 28, 2014

Wes Ward: LL.M. Candidate - County Judge Candidate

I am delighted to share the press release below. Wes is in this year's current LL.M. Class and has just announced his candidacy for Craighead County Judge. Supporters persuaded him to run, recognizing his leadership skills and his dedication to eastern Arkansas.  His years of service in the Marine Corps and his knowledge of agricultural law will be important assets to him. We wish him well.

Press Release - For Immediate Release
February 22, 2014

Wes Ward, (870) 897-0952

Wes Ward Announces Candidacy for 
Craighead County Judge

Wes Ward announced his candidacy today to run as a Republican for Craighead County Judge. Ward, a native of Lake City, is an attorney and a Captain in the United States Marine Corps Reserves.

Ward said, “I have been serving my country for nearly 14 years in the United States Marine Corps, including service overseas.  Now I want to utilize my education and leadership skills to serve my home county.” Ward continued, “Craighead County is in a position to experience incredible growth.  I believe the Chief Executive Officer of the County needs to be more involved and capitalize on this opportunity for growth and ensure our county is in a position to attract more economic development.  We need to provide more professional and transparent government services, safe and reliable infrastructure, an effective communication plan during emergencies, and a smarter and more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”

“Further, I want to have an open door policy to consider every citizens ideas as well as concerns.   I will be a representative of the people and lead by example.”

Ward is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law and will also be receiving an LL.M degree in Agricultural Law this May.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business from Arkansas State University and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law.    

Ward joined the Marine Corps in 2000 and has deployed to both Afghanistan and Jordan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  His current reserve unit is the 3rd Civil Affairs Group (CAG) located in Great Lakes, Illinois.  He is a graduate of Riverside High School and a lifelong member of Refuge General Baptist Church in Lake City.

“It would be an honor to serve the residents of Craighead County, and I humbly ask for your vote.”

Monday, February 24, 2014

Foscolo & Handel PLLC, The Food Law Firm

It is with pride that I cross-post this announcement from LL.M. alumnus, Jason Foscolo, as posted on The Food Law Firm Blog, dated February 24, 2014 - 
It is with great pride that I publicly announce the launch of Foscolo & Handel PLLC, a new law practice dedicated to servicing the legal needs of farmers and food entrepreneurs. Earlier this year, Lauren Handel and I officially teamed up to combine our skills, experience, and resources for the benefit of our rapidly growing base of clients. Foscolo & Handel PLLC can now offer the community of food entrepreneurs more services, such as litigation, and with greater flexibility and availability than ever before.
I am particularly excited to be working alongside an attorney of Lauren’s caliber. Her incredible dedication to the burgeoning field of food law is truly inspirational. After 10 years at a prestigious “BigLaw” firm in New York and Washington, D.C., she chose to reorient her professional life to help support the kinds of clients that matter to her personally, those in the food industry. Her professionalism, commitment to her new clients, and her remarkable passion for food law inspire me to be a better attorney every day that we work together. The knowledge and experience she brings to this partnership will prove to be invaluable assets to our clients. 
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank our clients and colleagues, whose support and trust in our unique legal expertise has sustained the rapid growth of this firm since its founding in 2011. Their continuing commitment to our firm is a testament to the usefulness of food law to their businesses.
Foscolo & Handel PLLC, the full service, general practice Food Law Firm, is now officially open for business.
Jason and Lauren are two sharp attorneys, connected-to and passionate-about food and agriculture. They are leading the way for the legal profession by finding better ways to serve clients -  by first really understanding their client's needs and believing in the work that they do.

As food law & policy grows as a legal discipline, as businesses realize that they need agricultural and food law attorneys on their side -  the demand for food law attorneys will rise.  I'd bet the store that this Food Law Firm is going to be very successful, particularly in the way that really matters -  in serving clients with the best representation available.  And, by doing so, our food system gets better, one business at a time.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Do Your Share!

Cross-posted from Agricultural Law:

I was simply delighted to find the National Agricultural Library (NAL) collection of War-era Food Posters available online. The physical collection was on display a couple years ago. Beans Were Bullets was an exhibit that "examined the evolution of poster styles, propaganda messages, and advertising history" from the World War I and II periods.

On the website, NAL has the posters divided chronologically and based on the theme of the period, with a helpful Introduction provided.
"Wartime posters in this collection conveyed messages about the vital need for food conservation, rationed goods, meatless and wheatless days, home gardening and canning. 
For farmers, who performed a distinct role on the homefront, posters called attention to the need for increased agricultural output and proper storage methods of surplus grain. Posters also instructed farmers to grow crops in their specific regions to best serve a nation at war.
In addition to these wartime subjects, many of the posters presage food-focused conversations taking place in our culture today. Posters created nearly a century ago suggested food's global significance, recommended eating locally and encouraged personally responsible consumption."
The sections, with direct links are as follows. Each section has a written analysis and a link to the posters.

Whether for historical purposes, for humor, or to further the call to revisit a more local food culture, I encourage all to visit this collection. NAL performs a great service in cataloguing, protecting, and preserving our food and agricultural heritage.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

For our Friends in Ukraine

The following video has been viewed over 4.5 million times. Our hearts go out to the good people of Ukraine and to the friends and family of all of those killed in the violence this week. At least 70 protestors were killed today and hundreds injured when security forces fired into the crowd.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Experiential Learning Pt. 2: Opportunities with Allen Olson

This is the second in a series of three posts about experiential learning opportunities for LL.M. students.

Last week, we posted about two of our current LL.M. students’ experiential learning opportunities with Walmart this semester.  This week, we are featuring opportunities that Kelly Damewood and Lauren Bernadett are completing with Allen Olson. 

Allen Olson
Allen Olson is a practitioner in the state of Georgia and long-time friend of the LL.M. Program.  After gaining many years of experience as a practicing attorney, Professor Olson received his LL.M. in agricultural law from our program in 1996.  After additional years of practice, he taught for the LL.M. Program before moving to Albany, Georgia in 2001 to begin his current practice.  He focuses primarily on agricultural law and has a national reputation for his work in federal farm programs, crop insurance, payment limitations, and other aspects of agricultural law.  Even though he is busy with his practice, Professor Olson graciously returned to the LL.M. Program to teach Federal Farm Programs last fall.  This was an ideal time for Professor Olson’s class, as many provisions of the farm bill that they discussed in class were being debated in Congress and the media.

Kelly Damewood
In addition to teaching Federal Farm Programs last semester, Professor Olson is currently working with two LL.M. students pursuing experiential opportunities.  Under Professor Olson’s supervision, Kelly Damewood is preparing a memorandum on the reach of IC-DISCs and Lauren Bernadett is preparing a memorandum on equitable apportionment and Florida’s current lawsuit against Georgia.

Kelly’s work for Professor Olson focuses on Interest Charge Domestic International Sales Corporations (IC-DISCs).  An IC-DISC is a type of business structure that carries federal tax benefits for farmers with an export crop business.  Kelly’s final memorandum will broaden the understanding of the full reach of IC-DISCs by analyzing who can benefit from IC-DISCs and under what circumstances.

Lauren Bernadett
Lauren’s work for Professor Olson focuses on the water rights doctrine of equitable apportionment, especially as it has been decided by the Supreme Court in original jurisdiction cases.  Many states have brought interstate water rights issues to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to decide how much water should be apportioned to each state.  Lauren’s research will tie in the current lawsuit that Florida filed against Georgia in October 2013 asking the Supreme Court for equitable apportionment of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Basin waters.  This research will help Professor Olson stay abreast of the lawsuit, which is important because his agricultural clients may be affected by how water rights in Georgia are managed.

These projects are great opportunities for Kelly and Lauren to learn more about specific areas of law and to get feedback on their research from a practicing attorney.  It is also a great opportunity for the LL.M. Program to maintain a close connection with Professor Olson, who has been such a great asset to the program for so many years.  Thank you, Professor Olson!

Monday, February 10, 2014

LL.M. Program Visiting Professor Neil Hamilton on the New Farm Bill

We are particularly proud of the Visiting Professors that teach our condensed courses and the leadership that they provide on agricultural and food law issues.

Just last week, the new Farm Bill was signed into law by President Obama.  Our friend and visiting Professor Neil Hamilton, Director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center and the Dwight D. Opperman Distinguished Professor of Law was interviewed by Mid-Missouri Public Radio in a piece titled The Uneasy Marriage of Food Stamps and the Farm Bill.  Click on the link to read the article and listen to Professor Hamilton's interview.

Professor Hamilton is recognized as one of the nation's leading agricultural law scholars and has been a true visionary in his recognition of the connections between agriculture, food, and society.

We will be delighted to welcome Professor Hamilton back to Arkansas next month when he will be teaching a class on local food issues, including a look at what the Farm Bill offers to New Agriculture.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Summer Leadership Summit: Native Youth in Agriculture - Deadline Approaching-Apply Today!

The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law will host a program for Native American youth in the summer of 2014. The Summer Leadership Summit: Native Youth in Agriculture will welcome at least 50 high school and college students to campus for a week of classes on risk management, finance and business, legal issues and marketing.

University of Arkansas professors, professionals in the food and agriculture sector and tribal leaders will teach the courses. Students from each of the Bureau of Indian Affairs regions will attend. Application materials and program descriptions will be available soon on the program’s website.

“This is an outstanding example of interdisciplinary work at the University of Arkansas,” said Sharon Gaber, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Our faculty will use their considerable expertise to help build a sustainable food and agriculture sector.”

The Intertribal Agriculture Council, FFA (formerly the Future Farmers of America), and the Farm Credit Council are partnering with the School of Law on the program, which is supported by a grant from the Risk Management Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The Leadership Institute Program will provide a pipeline of support for building the next generation of tribal food and agriculture leaders,” said Janie Hipp, director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative.

“This long-needed program will expose youth to the role governments play in American Indian agriculture,” said Ross Racine, executive director of the Intertribal Agriculture Council. “The program will provide a foundation from which each attendee can build an informed educational foundation and the program will provide a financial record-keeping foundation which will be beneficial for each attendee no matter what future career they choose to pursue.”

“Farm Credit is proud to be a partner in the development of leadership and financial skills among Native American young and beginning farmers,” said Gary Matteson, vice president of the Farm Credit Council’s Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach. “The future is bright for agriculture on tribal lands, and Farm Credit expects this program will be participants’ first step in achieving long-term farm business success.”

“We are committed to diversity as we continue to build today’s FFA into a more empowered and inclusive organization,” said Dwight Armstrong, chief executive officer of the National FFA Organization. “This grant will provide funding for Native American FFA members and others to participate in a risk management and leadership development conference next summer. We are grateful for this opportunity and pleased to be a part of this project.”

For more information, or to support the Leadership Program, please contact Janie Hipp at or visit the Summit webpage.

NOTE:  Janie is a graduate of the LL.M. Program - and it's great to have her back with us, providing leadership on Native agricultural and food law issues.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Experiential Learning: Externships with Walmart's Legal Division

The LL.M. Program provides experiential opportunities for students to work with professionals in the agricultural or food law sector.  Experiential opportunities usually take place in the spring semester so that students can assess their interests in the field and focus on developing relevant legal background during the fall semester. 

This spring, we have five LL.M. students participating in experiential opportunities: Erin Shirl and Kathryn Smith are externing with Walmart, a recurring extern host with the LL.M. Program; Sonia Sylls is working with the Sustainability Consortium, a first-time partner with the LL.M. Program; and Kelly Damewood and Lauren Bernadett are doing projects with AllenOlson, who taught Federal Farm Programs last semester.

We are running a series of blog posts featuring our students’ work with each of the externship hosts.  This first post features Kathryn and Erin’s work with Walmart.

Kathryn Smith
Kathryn and Erin and both externing in Walmart’s Legal Division.  They are working with Don Wiseman, a long-time friend of the LL.M. Program and an experienced attorney assigned to Food Compliance and Product Safety Compliance, and Amy White, an alumna of the LL.M. Program with Walmart’s Food Compliance Division.  

Kathryn is primarily working with Don in the Food Compliance department, which oversees food safety and food labeling issues.  She anticipates that her work might include the newest Farm Bill and the Food Safety Modernization Act.  Her other work will depend on issues that arise during her time there.

Kathryn has been pleased to find that the people with whom she works at Walmart are taking her interests into consideration to guide her assignments.  Additionally, they are taking the time to connect her with others in the Walmart family with whom her interests align.

Erin Shirl
Erin accepted an extern position with the Food Safety and Health division, and primarily works with Amy on food labeling issues. 

Erin says that working on compliance and labeling issues is as fast-paced as you might expect with a company as large as Walmart.  She is impressed by her division’s ability to streamline its work, made possible by the Food Safety team’s incredible dedication.  Erin reports that she is enjoying her work with Walmart and is currently working on some very interesting research projects.

Erin and Kathryn have already had the opportunity to be involved in corporate meetings at Walmart and they agree that their supervisors are great about showing them the behind-the-scenes work at the world’s largest retailer.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Office of Sustainability Graduate Assistant: Jeremy Baker

It is my pleasure to report on the ongoing collaboration between the University of Arkansas Office of Sustainability and the LL.M. Program.

Enhancing and building upon existing strengths in sustainability is a priority at the University of Arkansas. This commitment was reflected last year in the appointment of nationally recognized agricultural sustainability expert, Marty Matlock, professor of biological and agricultural engineering, to serve full time as Executive Director for the University of Arkansas Office for Sustainability.  Carlos Ochoa serves as Director of the Office of Sustainability.

The LL.M. Program's Food Recovery Project brought us squarely in line with the many sustainability initiatives advanced by the Office of Sustainability on campus.  As a show of support to our project and an effective way to bridge the work of our Program and the work of the Office of Sustainability, Professor Matlock proposed sponsoring a graduate assistantship in the LL.M. Program.  This provides an opportunity to an LL.M. candidate and offers the Office of Sustainability access to the talent and expertise of the attorneys enrolled in the LL.M. Program. It also serves to help us to coordinate our related projects.

Jeremy Baker was selected for this exciting new opportunity.  Jeremy served as the Research Assistant to Professor Lakshman Guruswamy on his manuscript, GLOBAL ENERGY JUSTICE to be published by Foundation Press.

Jeremy received his J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School where he served as the Associate Editor for the Colorado Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Review. He was awarded the Sandgrund Environmental Law Fellowship during the Summer of 2012 and was a Dean's Scholar.  His other legal work while in law school includes clerking, internships and research assistantships with the USDA office in Golden, Colorado; WildEarth Guardians; and, the Natural Resources Law Center.  His note, The Waikato-Tainui Settlement Act: A new High-Water Mark for Natural Resources Co-management, was published in the Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law & Policy, 24 COLO. J. INT'L ENVTL. L. & POL'Y 163 (2013).

Jeremy received his B.A. in Economics from Northwestern University.  His additional work experience includes serving as Produce Manager of the Mediterranean Market in Queenstown, New Zealand; as General Manager of Trimet Associates;  as an ESL Instructor in Hiosaki, Japan;  as Lead Underwriter for Jones Lang LaSalle; and as a Financial Analyist for Jones Lang LaSalle.

Jeremy will be working directing with the Office of Sustainability and coordinating work between that Office and our Program, in particular, through the Food Recovery Project.