Friday, May 29, 2015

Professor Kelley in Ukraine

Associate Professor of Law Christoper Kelley returned to Ukraine in May to teach four sessions in legal writing to students at the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and to colleagues at at the Inyurpolis Law Firm (ILF) in Kharkiv.

Photos from an article posted on the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law website show Professor Kelley meeting with faculty, and being presented with a book by the Rector of the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University. Professor Kelley will be assisting in the organization of the first summer school for academic credit in the history of Ukrainian legal education. Yaroslav Mudryi was one of the three top law schools in the Soviet Union and remains a top law school in Ukraine today. Professor Kelley also taught two classes at the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University.

Legal Writing Class, Inyurpolis Law Firm
Legal Writing Class, Yaroslav Mudryi

Thursday, May 28, 2015

LLM Alum & Farmer, Sean Brister, Featured on Ozarks at Large

Special note from Susan:

With the record-breaking rain in our area, I have been wondering how Sean Brister and his wife Stephanie are doing with their farm, Frog Bayou Farms in Crawford County, Arkansas. They raise cattle, soybeans and pumpkins on their farm and have a popular agri-tourism business.

Sean is one of our alumni, receiving both his J.D. and his LL.M. degree in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law.  Stephanie has her Masters in Agricultural Economics from the University.  Sean and Stephanie combine their professional work with farming -  running their own farm is a dream they have shared for a very long time, and several years ago, they turned that dream into reality.  They have visited the LL.M. Program to talk to our students about their experience in purchasing and running a farm, offering the class a great opportunity to explore the legal and financial challenges presented.

I was delighted to turn on the radio yesterday and immediately recognize Sean's voice.  Ozarks at Large did a great job interviewing him - here's a link, Western Arkansas River Valley Farmer Faces Floods.  

"Sean Brister's cheerful resolve to cultivate pumpkins, soybeans, and cattle despite consecutive flood events this spring on his Crawford County farm has not withered. We tour his rain-soaked parcel and along the way, dig up his root philosophy on agrarian optimism."

We wish Sean, Stephanie, and their boys the best -  and hope the rain holds off for a while. I am sure we will need it later in the summer, but we certainly don't need any more right now. Thanks to KUAF for another great interview.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fall Classes Announced: Degree and Non-degree Opportunities

LL.M. Program in Agric. & Food Law

University of Arkansas School of Law

2015 Fall Courses 

We offer a full curriculum of specialized LL.M. courses each semester.  For Fall 2015, we will be offering our usual core courses, plus an exciting mix of new classes that address some of the most compelling new issues in agricultural and food law today.

The Fall semester begins with orientation on August 25. The first class will be a condensed course August 26-28.  The last day of classes for the semester is December 4, 2015.  The final exam period will be from December 7 – 18, 2015, although most LL.M. examinations are “take-home” projects that can be completed from any location.

We now accept full time and part time degree candidates, and some of our courses are open to professionals who just want to take one or two classes for non-degree credit, often obtaining CLE or other professional credit.  For more information visit our website or email

In addition to the classes listed below, we will offer a special session, Food & Agriculture Conversations that will involve guest speakers and a dialogue on current issues. These will be scheduled on Tuesdays, from 11:00 – 11:50 and will complement our other classes.

Food Law & Policy
Susan Schneider
2 credit full-semester course (required for LL.M. degree)
LAWW 7862
Wednesday, 9:00 – 10:40 a.m.
An introduction to the network of laws that govern our food system. An overview of regulation by both the Food & Drug Administration and the USDA is provided. Policy considerations are discussed in light of current issues.

Agriculture & the Environment 
Christopher Kelley
2 credit full-semester course (required for the LL.M. degree)
LAWW 7962
Thursday, 10:00 – 11:40 a.m.
Agriculture is increasingly criticized for its impact on the environment. This course examines the tensions between the desire to produce food and fiber efficiently and concern for sustainability and the protection of natural resources.

Food, Farming & Sustainability (Survey of Agricultural Law)
Susan Schneider
2 credit full-semester course
LAWW 7412
Friday, 9:00 – 10:40
This course provides a survey of the complex legal topics that make up the body of agricultural and food law focusing on current issues of significance.

The Right to Food
Uche Ewelukwa
1 credit half-semester course (Aug. 25 – Oct. 8)
LAWW 500(1)
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00 – 1:50 p.m.
This course will provide an overview of the historical development of the right to food, evaluate the rights, obligations and responsibilities of rights-holders and duty-bearers of the right to food, and will examine legal and non-legal mechanisms that are increasingly used to adjudicate the right to food.

Business, Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility in the Food/Ag Sector
Uche Ewelukwa
1 credit half-semester course (Oct. 13 – Dec. 3)
LAWW 500(1)
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00 – 1:50 p.m.
The course explores the business-human rights nexus with a particular focus on the food and agricultural sector and on case studies from around the world. The course introduces students to the linkages between business and human rights from a variety of (legal, regulatory, and policy) perspectives.

Specialized Legal Research and Writing
Christopher Kelley
1 credit full-semester, pass/fail course
LAWW 7231
Tuesday, 10:00 – 10:50 p.m.
Legal writing skill development, including training in plain-English legal writing, electronic research training, and publication strategies. This course will assist students in planning to meet the LL.M. writing requirement.

Urban Agriculture Law & Policy
Nicole Civita
LAWW 7741
1 credit full semester distance course
Video-conferences TBA
Study of the legal issues raised by the rising interest in urban agricultural activities.  Topics of study include land use and zoning issues, farmers market issues, and legal issues associated with community-sponsored agriculture.

Courses Available Only to LL.M. Degree Candidates:

An Introduction to the Law of Food & Agriculture  
Neil Hamilton
1 credit condensed course
LAWW 7511
Tentatively scheduled for Aug. 26- 28, 2015
Introductory course that provides an overview of the legal and policy issues presented by the production of food and fiber, including a discussion of structural changes in agriculture, sustainability issues, and trends in consumer interest.

Agricultural Policy & the Federal Budget 
David Grahn
1 credit condensed course
LAWW 7321
Tentatively scheduled for Nov. 9 – 11, 2015
Study of the impact of the Office of Management and Budget and the cost scoring system on federal agricultural policy making in Washington, D.C.  Current farm policy issues are discussed within the context of budgetary constraints and pressures.

Special Topics: Research in Agricultural & Food Law Issues for the Arkansas Dept. of Agriculture
Wesley Ward and Cynthia Edwards
(1 credit – full semester)
New opportunity to work with our alumni serving as Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Agriculture on legal issues that arise. Limited to 1 or 2 students; selection by application.

Independent Research in Agricultural & Food Law
 (1-2 credits)
Independent research in agricultural and food law conducted under the supervision of a faculty member.

Advanced Legal Research & Writing (1 credit independent writing project; satisfies the legal writing requirement; grade based on final written product)
(1-2 credits)
Research in a specialized area of agricultural or food law and development of a paper that demonstrates rigorous legal analysis and quality legal writing.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Hillary Renick Accepts Position as Natural Resources Advisor

Our congratulations to current LL.M. Candidate Hillary Renick, who recently accepted a position to serve as Natural Resource Advisor for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of the Regional Director, Division of Environmental, Cultural Resource Management and Safety in Sacramento, California. In her position, Hillary will be providing professional assistance to 102 Indian Reservations in the Pacific Region service area. Hillary will be conducting scoping meetings, public hearings, environmental reviews and consultations with various governmental, tribal, and private sector projects that may potentially impact lands on or near Reservations or Rancherias. She will be conducting environmental training and presentations, creating and monitoring mitigation measures required under NEPA, tribal ordinances and regulations. She will also be analyzing baseline resource data for sites contaminated with hazardous wastes/substances.  
In addition to her LL.M. studies this year, Hillary has worked as a graduate assistant with the Indigenous Food and Agricultural Initiative here at the University of Arkansas School of Law. 

Hillary serves as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for Sherwood Valley Rancheria.  Before attending the LL.M. Program, she worked for the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C. She has also served as Yakama Nation Chief Judge; Environmental-Air Quality Specialist for Yakama Nation; Associate attorney for the LaPena Law Corporation; a Law Clerk for Oregon Governor Kulongoski's Office of General Counsel; and a Law Clerk for Anderson Law Group in Anchorage, Alaska.  Hillary has several years of public service employment with the Indian Health Service in Rockville, Maryland; the Environmental Protection Agency; the National Institutes of Health; the Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and the International Environmental and Scientific Affairs; Office of Senator Maria Cantwell; Bureau of Land Management; and the American Red Cross.  She is also alumni of the Pre-Law Summer Institute (PLSI) at the University of New Mexico School of Law; the Morris K. Udall internship in the Office of Senator Maria Cantwell; the AISES Summer program at the State Department; the Washington Internship for Native Students (WINS) at American University; and a recipient of the Rodney T. Mathews Scholarship, Morongo Band of Mission Indians.
Hillary received her J.D. from the University of the Oregon School of Law, with certificates of completion in Environmental and Natural Resources, Ocean and Coastal Law, Pro Bono, and Public Service. While in law school she was a Native Environmental Sovereignty Fellow and served as Public Relations Outreach Officer for the Native American Law Student Association. She was a Research Assistant for Professor Mary Christina Wood, researching Nature’s Trust and Public Trust Doctrine as it relates to Climate Change.  She also completed graduate studies in Cultural Resource Management at Central Washington University, successfully defending her Master’s Thesis on Yakama Indian Treaty Fishing and Significance of Traditional Places and graduate studies in Public Health at George Washington University assisting, Dr. David Goldsmith with his research on Native American health problems associated with exposure to agricultural pesticides in agriculture and during repatriation.  Hillary received her B.A. in Anthropology from American University in Washington, D.C. Hillary is also alumna of Mendocino College, Phi Theta Kappa.
Hillary currently serves on the Board of Trustees for California Indian Legal Services and was previously a member of the Native American Advisory Group to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.  Hillary is a member of the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians and descendant of the Hopland Shanel, Noyo and Ft. McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone communities.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Visit From our Alumni: Wes Ward and Cynthia Edwards, Arkansas Secretary & Deputy Secretary of Agriculture

This week, we were delighted to host Arkansas's new Secretary of Agriculture, Wes Ward and Deputy Secretary Cynthia Edwards.  Both Wes and Cynthia are alumni of the LL.M. Program, and we are very proud of their service.

On Monday, we had an opportunity to talk about ways to involve the LL.M. Program with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. As Arkansas has such a diverse agricultural sector and also confronts challenging food security issues,  work with the Ag Department can be instructive even for students from other states.  With so many of our graduates serving in policy positions at a state and federal level,  on-the-ground involvement with the work of an administrative agency will be very helpful to our students.

On Tuesday, we accompanied Wes and Cynthia on a series of on-site visits with people on the front lines of the local food movement in Northwest Arkansas.

Teresa Mauer, Sec. Wes Ward, Dep'ty Sec. Cynthia
Edwards, and Leann Halsey at the Farmers' Market
We began the day at the Fayetteville Farmers' Market on the beautiful downtown square. There we met with Teresa Mauer, Vendor Coordinator & Leann Halsey, Business Coordinator.  We discussed the organizational structure of the market, how vendors become part of the market, and what events are planned for the coming season. This market is for locally produced foods and products only, and the array of items was impressive. We met all of the vendors and stocked our cooler with fresh strawberries, honey, and asparagus.  We also bought plants for our own gardens.

Dep't Sec. Cynthia Edwards, Sec. Wes Ward, Principal
Ashley McLarty, Morgan Stout, Ally Mracheck, Nicole Civita
Nicole Civita, Dept'y Sec. Cynthia Edwards, Susan
Schneider, Ally Mracheck, Morgan Stout, Sec. Wes Ward
in the Washington Elementary School Garden area.
Our next stop was Washington Elementary School, where Melissa Terry coordinated our visit with School Principal Ashley McLarty; Morgan Stout, Child Nutrition Director for the Fayetteville Public School System;  and, Ally Mrachek, Nutrition Supervisor and Farm-to-School Procurement Coordinator for the Fayetteville Public Schools. Melissa has been active in the NW Arkansas local food community for a number of years and is currently working on her Master's Degree in Public Administration/Non-Profit Studies at the University of Arkansas. She also serves as the Food Recovery Challenge Intern - EPA, Region 6.  And, she manages the school garden at Washington Elementary.  During our visit, we learned about the successes experienced in sourcing local foods, improving school nutrition, and introducing students to healthy foods. Local food procurement not only provides benefits to the school, it benefits the entire community, with funding kept within the community. We also discussed the challenges and the ways that the state government could assist schools.

After leaving Washington Elementary, we visited Feed Fayetteville, the NW Arkansas non-profit organization "founded to cultivate proactive, durable solutions to local hunger, childhood obesity and the relationships between both of these hotspots with a focus upon supporting local farmers and producers in our community." There, we met founder Denise Garner, who explained the origins of Feed Fayetteville and Feed Communities. And, we met Mike Rush, Executive Director, Jared Phillips, Program Manager, at Feed Communities. We had a great discussion about local and regional food initiatives and innovative agricultural production systems in Arkansas.

Jared Phillips, Sec. Wes Ward, Nicole Civita, Denise
Garner, Mike Rush, Dep'ty Sec. Cynthia Edwards

We then headed to lunch at The Farmer’s Table, a popular locally-sourced Fayetteville restaurant. We talked with the owners Adrienne & Rob Shaunfield about sourcing issues.  Peter Nierengarten, the Director of the Fayetteville Sustainability & Resilience Department joined us. Peter was able to provide information about his work for the City and urban agriculture initiatives, including urban farming ordinance passed last year. Of course, we had a most delicious lunch.

Rose Konold, Sec.Wes Ward, Dep'ty Sec. Cynthia
Edwards & some of the Boston Mtn Hogs at Mason Creek Farm
After lunch, we drove to Mason Creek Farm where we met Rose Konold and Glenn Woelk. Rose gave us a tour of the farm and discussed the new breed of hog developed from a cross of a Yorkshire sow and a Tamworth boar. Rose has established the Boston Mountain Hog Breeders Association. Mason Creek is an Animal Welfare Approved operation with direct sales throughout the area.

Our day concluded with an inspiring visit to Tricycle Farm & Crossroads Farmers Market. Founder of Tricycle, Don Bennett spoke about the concept behind this unique urban farm and the people that they bring together from throughout the community. Located in the heart of a busy urban area and close to the UA campus, "the mission of Tri Cycle Farms (TCF) is to grow community through soil as we steward food awareness, education and empowerment." Discussing community, food security, and the satisfaction that comes from producing food while drinking tea in the shade was a perfect way to end an amazing day.

Thanks to Secretary Wes Ward, Deputy Secretary Cynthia Edwards and all the wonderful hosts we had throughout the day.  Special thanks to our Professor Nicole Civita for coordinating.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Donald Judges Named Interim Associate Vice Provost for Distance Education

Donald P. Judges has been named the Interim Associate Vice Provost for Distance Education at the University of Arkansas, taking on the role of second-in-command at the Global Campus beginning May 1.

Don has served as Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Experiential Learning at the School of Law, and he was instrumental in the expansion of our LL.M. Program and the development of our Distance Education track.  That work was supported by Global Campus, forging an important partnership with the Law School. We look forward to continued collaborations with Global Campus as we continue to develop and expand our approach to distance education.  Don will spend half of his time working with the Global Campus leadership team and the other half teaching courses as the law school’s E.J. Ball Professor of Law. We greatly appreciate his continued support for our Program and wish him the very best in his new position. His commitment to excellence and to innovation in education will serve him well.  For more on Dean Judges appointment, read the full announcement posted on the Arkansas Newswire.