Saturday, October 29, 2016

LL.M. Visiting Prof Receives Highest Honor at the AALA Annual Conference; Alumni Lead the Association

Congratulations to our dear friend and visiting professor, David Grahn.  Earlier this month, David received the Distinguished Service Award at the American Agricultural Law Association's 2016 Annual Symposium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The distinguished service award is given to a member of the AALA that demonstrates “sustained excellence” and a consistent "demonstration of dedication to furthering the development of agricultural law, strengthening the legal profession, increasing the size and influence of AALA, and fulfilling the law-related information needs of lawyers and citizens alike." It is the highest award to be bestowed on a member.

David teaches our Farm Policy & the Federal Budget course, a fast-paced condensed class that explains the impact of the budget on policy decisions.  He will be teaching this course for us next month.

David serves as the Associate General Counsel for International Affairs, Food Assistance, and Farm and Rural Programs in the Office of the General Counsel of the USDA. In 2011, he was awarded the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award for his service to the U.S. Government. He is a prior recipient of the AALA Excellence in Agriculture Award, a frequent presenter at the AALA Annual Educational Symposium and dedicated AALA member He is a Graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and Carleton College in Minnesota.

LL.M. Alumni continue to play an important role in the leadership of the AALA.  Our Alumna, Beth Crocker is the out-going Past President of the AALA. She is pictured above, giving David his award.

Beth did an outstanding job as President-elect, planning the AALA conference in South Carolina last year and this year, running the AALA organization as its President.  Thank you, Beth.

The incoming President-Elect is another of our alumni, Jennifer Zwaggerman. We are delighted to also congratulate Jennie for her selection for this important role. We are confident that she will provide positive leadership to the association as she plans the next conference and then ascends to the position of President.

Alumnus Jeff Peterson continues to serve on the AALA Board of Directors, as does Beth Crocker who will serve on the Board as Past-President. Alumna Beth Rumley will join them, as she was appointed to serve out the remainder of Jennie Zwaggerman's term on the Board.  Congratulations to Beth Rumley, and our appreciation is extended to Jennie, Jeff, Beth, and Beth for their service.

A number of our alumni presented at the conference:

  • Susan Schneider: 2016 Food Law Update
  • Janie Hipp and Erin Shirl: American Indian Legal Issues in Food & Agriculture;
  • Alli Condra: Recent Changes in Food Law: Regulation, Litigation, and Legislative Update;
  • Alison Peck:  The Science and Law of Genetic Engineering; and, 
  • Andy Frame: Advising Food and Farm Start-ups.

And, our Visiting Professors David Grahn and Neil Hamilton each spoke. David delivered his 2016 Farm Policy Update.  Neil spoke on How Private Conservation and Sustainability Initiatives Impact Farmers.

We were once again proud of the leadership and professionalism shown by our alumni and professors. We are proud to play a significant role in the AALA.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Spring Schedule Announced

The University of Arkansas School of Law is proud to deliver an extensive curriculum of agricultural and food law classes each semester.

JD students from other law schools may be able to enroll in these courses, arranging for transfer credit back to their home institution. Enrollment is on a space-available basis, and a simple application process is required. There is no application fee, and Arkansas’ reasonable tuition rates apply.

Attorneys seeking additional expertise may be able to enroll in some of these courses without participating in the degree program. Enrollment is on a space-available basis, and a simple application process is required. CLE credit is available in some jurisdictions.

Contact Sarah Hiatt, LL.M. Program Administrator at to enroll. 

Traditional Semester Courses
Traditional courses meet each week for either the full semester or condensed to meet only half of the semester. Distance students conference into the class, participating from wherever they are located.

Agricultural Biotechnology
Martha Noble (via video conference from California) (1 credit)
10:30 - 12:10 Wednesday (second half of the semester only)
Study of the regulation of agricultural biotechnology, including the approval process for new technologies, the patenting of new products and technologies, and the restrictions associated with their use.

Environmental Regulation of Agriculture
Nathan Rosenberg (2 credits)
12:50 - 1:50 Tuesday & Thursday
Examination of some of the major federal environmental statutes applicable to agricultural operations with attention to current cases and controversies under those laws. The course also explores the regulatory authority and enforcement practices of the EPA and other agencies.

Intellectual Property in Food & Agric. Products
Uche Ewelukwa (1 credit)
10:30 - 12:30 (first half of the semester)
Introduction to Copyright Law, Trademarks Law and Patent Law as applied to agriculture and food, considering 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) and issues from Copyright Law including copyright laws on food recipes as well as copyright laws on food labeling as well as issues involving Design Patent Law.

Regulated Markets in Agriculture
Nate Rosenberg (2 credits)
8:40 - 10:20 Tuesday
Introduction to the federal statutes and mechanisms designed to regulate the livestock and the fruit and vegetable industries: Marketing Orders, The Perishable Commodities Act, and the Packers and Stockyards Act; Review of administrative appeal opportunities through formal and informal adjudication.

Flipped Courses with Some Synchronous Classes

Flipped classes combine weekly guided study for students to do independently, with scheduled opportunities for class discussion lead by the course instructor. Students may participate in these discussions via videoconference or in person in the LL.M. Study. The amount of class time varies course to course.

Federal Regulation of Food Labeling
Satoko Kato (2 credits)
10:30 - 12:30 Tuesday (first half of the semester only)
Study of the federal laws regarding the labeling of food. The course includes the study of nutrition labeling, health claims, advertising issues, and efforts to impact public health through educational labeling. This course will meet for 100 minutes/week, but only for the first half of the semester. Student projects, video presentations and other guided instruction will be provided.

Federal Regulation of Food Safety
Satoko Kato (2 credits)     
10:30 - 12:30 Tuesday (second half of the semester only)

Study of efforts to promote food safety through federal regulation. The course will examine a variety of discreet topics including FSMA food safety provisions, “defect” standards, chemical residues, environmental pollution, antibiotic resistance, and new concerns about health and diet. This course will meet for 100 minutes/week, but only for the last half of the semester. Student projects, video presentations and other guided instruction will be provided.

Food Justice Law & Policy
Nicole Civita (via video conference from Vermont) (1 credit)
10:30 - 11:20 Thursday (first half of the semester; class will only meet 4-5 times)
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. This course will only meet 4-5 times during the semester for synchronous discussion.

Condensed Courses
Condensed courses meet for 2-4 days, with 12-14 hours of intense instruction for 1 credit

Food Safety Litigation
Bill Marler/Denis Stearns (1 credit)
2-3 days in March TBD          
Examination of food borne illness litigation with an initial introduction to food product liability followed by the study of actual cases brought against food manufacturers

Legal Issues in Agricultural Land Tenure
Neil Hamilton (1 credit)          
2-3 days in April TBD
Legal issues regarding the sale of agricultural lands via mortgage and contract for deed; Sustainability and land tenure; Leasing issues; Farm transition and land tenure issues

Federal Farm Programs & Crop Insurance
Allen Olson (1 credit)
3-4 days in February TBD      
Overview of the major federal farm programs and the legal issues associated with participation; Overview of the crop insurance program and the roles of those involved Discussion of the legal issues that arise

Agriculture & Climate Change         
Nate Rosenberg (1 credit)
3-4 days in January; this course may be offered as a semi-condensed or half-semester class. If you are interested, please let us know your preferences.
Discussion of climate change and farming, including consideration of relevant farm practices, farm programs and policy issues, regulatory issues and possible litigation

Online Courses
Online courses are delivered primarily through guided self-paced student work based on a carefully designed learning pathway; there may be a few synchronous class meetings, but most contact with the professor will be individualized through email, video calls, and other forms of direct communication; these courses provide maximum scheduling flexibility.

Agricultural Cooperatives & Local Food Systems (1 credit)
Lauren Manning (Arkansas)
March 7 - April 28      
Introduction to the legal structure of a cooperative and examination of the recent use of the cooperative model in encouraging local and regional food systems.

Agricultural Labor Law (1 credit)
Amy Lowenthal (New York)
January 17 - March 3
Study of the legal, social, and economic issues that arise from the extensive use of migrant labor in U.S. agricultural operations. Topics include agricultural exemptions from labor laws, the Migrant & Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, and agriculture’s reliance on undocumented alien workers.

Farmed Animal Welfare Law & Policy (1 credit)
Pamela Vesilind (North Carolina)
January 17 - March 3
Examination of the legal issues involved in determining welfare standards for animals raised for food. In addition to introducing federal animal welfare and humane slaughter laws, state referenda, state law standards, and so-called “ag gag” laws are considered. 

Federal Nutrition Law & Policy (1 credit)
Erin Shirl (Arkansas)
March 7 - April 28
Study of federal nutrition policy, including the development of the federal nutrition standards, the framework for the food assistance programs, the federal school lunch program, and the government’s efforts to encourage healthy eating.

Introduction to Agricultural Income Tax (1 credit) 
Poppy Davis (California)
March 7 - April 28      
Overview of federal income tax law as applied to agricultural operations. This course de-mystifies agricultural taxation and explains the importance of these issues for anyone advising a farming operation.