Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Alum Lauren Handel Named in Top Twenty Women Faculty of 2016

We were delighted to see our alumna Lauren Handel recognized for her dedication to sharing food law & policy expertise with the bar, selecting her as one of the Top Twenty Women Faculty of 2016.

Lawline just announced the winners and explained that their "content team dug deep into 2016 data, including the top courses and our most successful faculty. In particular, the team focused on identifying the top women faculty who, through their powerful CLE programs, influenced and inspired thousands of attorneys across the country."

The listing is published on the Above the Law legal blog.

Here is a reprint of the description they provided for Lauren's selection:

Lauren Handel (Partner, Handel Food Law)
In addition to her law degree, Lauren Handel also holds an LL.M. in Agricultural and Food Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law.  This no doubt has helped her build her specialized practice, through which she counsels and represents food, farming and alcoholic beverage businesses. Lauren is the author of A Practitioner’s Guide to Defending “Natural” Food Labeling Litigation, published in the Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture & Natural Resources Law, as well as a chapter on Urban Agricultural Nuisances and State Right to Farm Laws published by the American Bar Association in the book Urban Agriculture: Policy, Law, Strategy, and Implementation. 
Lauren’s CLE course, Food Labeling and Marketing Litigation Risks, provides an overview of food labeling regulation, the causes of action asserted by consumers and competitors, key defenses, and the types of labeling and marketing claims that plaintiffs have targeted in lawsuits. Lawline members call this a “balanced and fair presentation” and one that is “very informative” to attorneys as both practitioners and consumers. It’s the kind of course that gives “exactly the sorts of information” you’re “hoping would be presented” in a way that provides a solid “basic understanding of the topic,” should an attorney “ever wish to pursue it.”

Attorneys are wise to listen closely to Lauren's instruction.  Just last month, she won a multi-million dollar case for her food law client client.  Congratulation, Lauren. We are so proud of the work you do.

Friday, April 21, 2017

John Koller, Chief of the Dispute Resolution for PACA to visit LL.M. Program

On Tuesday, April 25th John Koller, Chief of the Dispute Resolution Branch (DRB) under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) will discuss how attorneys can provide effective legal counsel to clients in the produce industry as well as answering questions about the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, USDA's dispute resolution program, and his 32 years of experience in the agency. 

This presentation is part of our Regulated Markets in Agriculture course taught by Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Nathan Rosenberg.

John Koller serves as Chief of the Dispute Resolution Branch (DRB) under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).  John’s office works to educate stakeholders that buy and sell fruit and vegetables in interstate commerce on ways to successfully resolve and avoid contract disputes.  John has over 32 years of PACA experience.  In his early years with PACA, John was involved in resolving hundreds of informal complaints through various levels of mediation, conducting violation investigations, and bringing produce firms into compliance by obtaining a PACA license.   Before and while serving as Assistant Regional Director of a PACA Regional Office, he was involved in various high profile investigations touching on false accountings and failure to pay, PACA Trust violations, altered USDA inspections, bribery of USDA inspectors, unlawful employment, misbranding, and pursuing firms that operate without a valid PACA license.  John looks forward to continuing his rewarding experience with PACA and helping produce firms succeed in their business ventures.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Michael Roberts to visit LL.M. Program

On Tuesday, April 25th, LL.M. Alumnus and long time friend of the Program Michael T. Roberts will join Professor Satoko Kato during our Federal Regulation of Food Safety course as a special guest lecturer.

Michael T. Roberts, Executive Director,
Resnick Program for Food Law & Policy
Michael T. Roberts is the founding Executive Director of the newly established Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law. He is well versed in a broad range of legal and policy issues from farm to fork in local, national, and global food supply systems. He has recently authored the first major treatise on food law, titled, Food Law in the United States, published by Cambridge University Press. He is also co-editor of Food Law & Policy, a new casebook to be published by Wolters Kluwer. He has also written several other chapters and articles on food law topics. As we reported in a earlier blog post, Michael recently co-authored a White Paper that was recently released by The UCLA Resnick Program in Food Law &Policy, The Pursuit of Food Authenticity: Recommended Legal and Policy Strategies to Eradicate Economically Motivated Adulteration (Food Fraud). His 2016 China Food Law Update, co-authored by Chin-Fu Ling was published in the Fall 17 edition of the Journal of Food Law & Policy.

Mr. Roberts is actively involved in the development of food law and policy. He has guest lectured on food-law subjects at various law schools in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. He is a Research Fellow for Renmin University School of Law’s Center for Coordination and Innovation for Food Safety. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law for East China University of Science and Technology (Shanghai), where he lectures annually on food law topics. He also lectures frequently and is involved with the University of Tuscia, European Food Law Center (Viterbo, Italy). He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Michigan State University, where he teaches a distant education course on China food law. He serves on the advisory board for the World Food Law Institute and on the Editorial Board for MDPI Laws, an open access scholarly journal, which has addressed food law topics. Michael serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Academy of Food Law & Policy, a membership organization that serves as a forum for individuals and institutions involved in teaching and scholarship in the broad field of Food Law & Policy housed within the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Reece Franklin joins LL.M. Program Staff

Reece Franklin joins the LL.M. Program Staff as AV Distance Education Coordinator.

Please join me in welcoming Reece Franklin to the Law School and to the LL.M. Program. Reece will be serving as the AV Distance Education Coordinator, managing the technological aspects of the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law.
Reece brings some excellent experience having most recently served as Lead AV Technician at Presentation Services Audio Visual, a company that manages special events and conferences for major hotel chains in the North Miami area.

Reece graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ouachita Baptist University with a double major in Philosophy & Church Media Production Arts. He is also experienced in video production and editing.

 In addition to his work supporting the distance program, Reece will be assisting the program in the production of several marketing video's which we hope to release in early fall 17.

Reece and his wife, Anna Grace are relocating from North Miami, FL and look forward to being a bit closer to family and friends in Arkadelphia.

We're fortunate to have Reece join our team!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Legal Issues in Agricultural Land Tenure with Neil Hamilton

Professor Neil Hamilton returns to Fayetteville to teach a intensive short course on Agricultural Land Tenure

Last week, we were pleased to offer a new course in Agricultural Land Tenure developed and taught by Neil Hamilton, Emeritus Director of the Agricultural Law Center and Emeritus Professor of Law at Drake University Law School.

This intensive 2.5 day one credit course focuses on the role landownership and use plays in the operation of American agriculture. The course examines the history of federal land policy in the U.S. such as the Homestead Act and other land grants in forming our land ownership structure and will examine the current reality of land tenure in the U.S. , looking at who owns farmland and in what legal structures. 

Professor Hamilton is nationally recognized as a leader not only in agricultural law but sustainable agriculture. His current work focuses on the critical land tenure issues facing agriculture, and he designed a course for us on that topic. With the aging of American farmers and the amount of land in the control of non-farmers, who owns farmland and how it is farmed (in terms of sustainability) are big questions to address.

Our thanks to Professor Hamilton!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Michael Roberts and Resnick Program Release New Report

LL.M. Alumnus, Michael Roberts co-authored a White Paper that was recently released by The UCLA Resnick Program in Food Law &Policy, The Pursuit of Food Authenticity: Recommended Legal and Policy Strategies to Eradicate Economically Motivated Adulteration (Food Fraud).

Economically Motivated Adulteration (EMA), a form of food fraud has been in the media in recent years as unscrupulous food manufacturers are caught diluting their products, substituting inferior ingredients, omitting ingredients, and concealing their actions for economic gain. The White Paper notes that EMA often leads to food safety incidents and cheats consumers.
As with food law in general, the regulation of EMA can be convoluted, leading to weak enforcement by the government. Recognizing that the current political reality does not support new regulations, the paper recommends that the FDA enforce the existing statutory mandate against EMA for the benefit of consumers in a smart, efficient manner by setting enforcement priorities and by collaborating with science experts and the food industry. The paper also recommends that the food industry address food fraud by embracing the norm of food authenticity and establishing self-governance rules as it has done so with sustainability. Last, the paper proposes specific changes in litigation against food fraud.

Michael Roberts serves as the founding Executive Director of the Resnick Program. His co-author is Whitney Turk, a Research Fellow with the Program.

Special Note:  Michael will be joining us in the LL.M. Program at the end of the month to teach a class in the Federal Regulation of Food Safety course. It will be wonderful to have him back in Arkansas with us for a few days.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Nicole Civita presents at Just Food Forum

Since 2015, Harvard Law School has hosted the Just Food? conference bringing together food system workers, advocates, scholars, practitioners and other authorities to present on important developments in the Food system.

This year’s Just Food? conference focused on labor in the food system, exploring the issues most relevant to those who grow, harvest, prepare, and serve our food.

The Just Food? forum is a collaboration of the Harvard Food Literacy Project and Harvard Law School Food Law Society and is co-sponsored by our friends at the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School.

The one-day conference was packed with a series of excellent panelist, speakers, and presenters. Topics included agricultural worker rights, worker compensation in the restaurant industry, regulatory responses, and alternative ownership and operating models. Conference organizers hoped to shift attention toward a critical, but often overlooked, component of our food system: the  workers. "By amplifying the voices of those most embedded in our food system, we hope to educate participants, empower them to make positive change, and ultimately, work together to create a more just food system."

LL.M. Affiliate Professor Nicole Civita was invited to present a talk titled Ethics Over Exploitation: Moral Mapping of Food System Labor. A summary of the talk follows.

Conscious consumers in a market-based food movement seek to minimize the negative externalities of their food choices. But when we obtain our food through arm's length transactions, it is difficult to assess and avoid exploitation of people, places, animals, and commons. The Consumers, Certifications and Labels: Ethically Benchmarking Food Systems project is developing a comprehensive rating system for the ethics of food. This interactive session (led by a member of the project's Core Academic Team) explores the ethical issues associated with the labor and community components of the food system.

Nicole Civita is the Director of the Food Recovery Project and an Affiliated Professor with the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law at the University of Arkansas. She is also Faculty and Assistant Director of the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems at Sterling College, where she organizes the School of the New American Farmstead. Using a multidisciplinary, solutions-oriented approach that pairs legal expertise with hands-on food craft, Nicole's scholarship and teaching focus on food conservation, justice, and resilience, planning for place-based and community-driven food systems, and the power and limits of a market-based food movement. She holds an LL.M. in agricultural and food law from the University of Arkansas School of Law, a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center, and an AB from Columbia University.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Allen Olson talks Agricltural Law on KUAF's Ozarks at Large podcast

Earlier this semester we blogged about long time friend and Alumnus Allen H. Olson returning to Fayetteville to teach a 3 day intensive course on Federal Farm Programs & Crop Insurance. While he was here, Professor Olson sat down with Kyle Kellams on Ozarks At Large to talk about Crop Insurance and what it means to practice Agricultural Law.

Listen to the full interview on the KUAF website.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Improving Our Food System, One Lawyer at a Time

Our vision in the Arkansas LL.M. Program has always been to bring people together.  Farm and food; rural and urban. East, west, and in between.  Most of our classes also include international perspectives - this year we have students from Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

If we talk to one another, we can usually find common ground and develop a better understanding of our own views as well as others.

What we teach is the law.  You need to know all sides of it if you want to be good at practicing it.

Our LL.M. classes provide the opportunity to explore the great diversity of food and agricultural issues -  to discuss, debate, and learn together about our food system.

Imagine a class where students from Texas get to discuss agricultural law and learn along with students from Oregon and New York City. Where students with a family tradition of farming can debate issues involving our food system with urban foodies. We bring together diverse voices united by their interest in our food system, from farm to fork.

I offer these thoughts because of the fond memories I have of a recent class (2011) that touched on all of these issues and perhaps best explains who we are.  One member of the class, Ben Thomas, was from Lubbock, Texas. After graduating from the LL.M. Program, Ben went to D.C. to work for the Senate Agriculture Committee and then served at USDA. He was recently appointed Commissioner of Agriculture in Montana.

The embedded video about Ben is what brought this all to mind.

Close friends with Ben were classmates Cassie Peters from the Oregon and Claire Mitchell from New York City.

Urban agriculture and local food systems are two of Cassie's special areas of expertise. She worked in West Virginia at Downstream Strategies and later served as the publisher of Florida Food and Farm magazine in Florida. Cassie is now back in Oregon running Cassie Peters Legal + Consulting, LLC where she provides comprehensive, thorough, and personalized legal services in the Willamette Valley and throughout Oregon. Her specialty is Cannabis law.

Claire Mitchell moved from New York City to Fayetteville, Arkansas to attend the LL.M. Program. Food law was and is her passion. Although as her photo reflects, she also loves mountain climbing.  Claire worked with the food safety firm, Marler Clark after the LL.M. Program and is now an Associate Attorney with Stoel Rives, LLP in Seattle, Washington. She's a business transactional and regulatory compliance attorney for the food, beverage, and hospitality industries, advising clients on product labeling, marketing, advertising, and packaging, product safety compliance strategies, state and federal liquor licensing matters, and commercial contract negotiation.

Three talented lawyers from three corners of the country, united by their interest in learning more about food and agriculture. Lifetime friendships formed.

Rest assured that I could easily expand this blog by describing the other great attorneys in the class or write a similar blog on another class year.

Making our food system stronger and more resilient, one lawyer at a time. We salute our wonderful alumni!

Susan Schneider

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Reflecting on the Arkansas LL.M.

The LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law is proud to describe the core aspects of our Program -  aspects that distinguish us from other programs and that reflect our approach to good legal education.

  • We have developed thirty five different substantive food and agricultural law courses, each of which has a discreet, prepared curriculum of study.  We also offer independent study credit and experiential learning opportunities in addition to these regular courses. However, while students can do research and work on their own for credit if they wish, our curriculum provides organized classes that far exceed the number of credits necessary for the LL.M. degree.  
  • The nineteen different LL.M. Program faculty who teach our courses are experienced agricultural and food law professionals from all over the country. We do not teach to one region or one policy agenda, we teach the law and provide our students with the tools needed to advance their advocacy interests. 
  • Our classes are designed specifically for LL.M. candidates, that is, students who have already earned a J.D. degree. We treat our students as the professionals that they already are. We allow a limited number of J.D. students to take some of our courses along with the LL.M. candidates, and we have occasionally allowed a graduate student or professional in a related field to join a specific class. But, our focus is directed toward attorneys seeking specialized education. 
  • Our distance education classes are carefully designed and approved by the experienced course design professionals at the University of Arkansas Global Campus.  Most offer the opportunity for synchronous instruction; all utilize a range of technologies and learning tools. 
  • We do not work with for-profit education companies. All tuition dollars stay with our land grant University.  Our tuition rates are among the most reasonable in legal education, and our students only pay for the courses that they take, when they take them.
  • Because our face-to-face program is still at the core of our studies, distance students are always welcome to come to Northwest Arkansas to join us when their schedule permits. Synchronous participation from a remote desktop is the next best thing, with our in-person classes recorded and available for later viewing.
  • Our experiential learning experiences place our candidates in individualized learning environments that match their interests. Examples of externships include the Sustainability Consortium, Walmart's Food Safety Compliance Unit, and Tyson Foods General Counsel's Office.  Through the new Practicum Program, we have organized remote connections for students with the NRDC, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and the Good Food Institute. Students can help design the program they want, with the organization that interests them. Whether the work is with a multinational corporation or a local non-profit, student learning is the focus of the project.
  • We are extremely proud of our network of alumni. With almost 250 Arkansas LL.M. graduates working throughout the agricultural and food law community, we have connections that circle the globe. We keep in touch with many of our alumni, we brag about their accomplishments on this blog, and we remain a resource for them. They support and encourage each new class of LL.M. candidates who are truly welcomed in to our professional family.
  • We welcome a small number of non-degree candidates to take some of our classes, allowing qualified students and professionals the opportunity to sample our curriculum and explore advanced legal education in the emerging areas of agricultural and food law.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Food Safety Litigation Course with Denis Stearns, Of Counsel at Marler Clark

Former Principal and Founding Partner of Marler Clark. LLP, PS, Denis Stearns offers a fast-paced look at Food Safety Litigation to Candidates in the LL.M. Program as part of a popular 2-day course.

The course offers an 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.

Denis Stearns was a founding partner of Marler Clark, LLP, PS, a Seattle-based law firm with a national practice devoted to the representation of persons injured by unsafe food and drink. He also works to promote food safety through educational speaking and pro bono consulting with the food industry. In addition, Professor Stearns teaches at Seattle University School of Law and is a recognized food law scholar.

Professor Stearns began his involvement in food-related litigation in 1993 as one of the lead defense attorneys handling the cases arising from the historic Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in the Northwest United States. Mr. Stearns was responsible for designing and implementing a discovery plan that allowed Foodmaker to present a consistent and successful defense in over one hundred lawsuits spread among several states. In this role, he obtained extensive knowledge and experience in litigation that involves complex manufacturing systems, foodborne illnesses, and issues of quality control. He also became noted for a highly principled, but persistent, approach to the discovery process and is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer on ethics and the law. Since helping to found Marler Clark seventeen years ago, he has worked on hundreds of food outbreak cases, including recent ones involving E. coli O157:H7-contaminated Dole spinach, Salmonella in Peter Pan peanut butter and Banquet pot pies, and a spate of outbreaks involving E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef, Nestlé cookie dough, and raw milk.

Professor Stearns continues to work with Bill Marler and Marler Clark.  He is also the principal/owner of Stearns Law, PLLC, a law firm that focuses on consulting and working with food companies of multiple sizes, including advising on how to prepare for and respond to foodborne illness outbreaks, recalls, and regulatory compliance issues. A full biography is available here.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Food, Farming & Sustainability: The Website

Last August, Professor Susan Schneider published the 2nd edition of Food Farming & Sustainability: Readings in Agricultural Law. This book is designed as a text book for teaching a law school survey course, but it's also useful as an agricultural law resource.

As promised in the book, Professor Schneider developed a companion website that posts and links to resources that she uses in her teaching.  We are delighted to announce that she just completed a major upgrade to the website.  It's a public site with resources that are free and available to all.  

As reflected in the Notes from the Author, Professor Schneider created the website to supplement Food, Farming, & Sustainability and to provide additional resources for those who use it. It is not designed as a comprehensive clearinghouse of agricultural law materials. There are very few cases, and only a few scholarly articles. Rather, its a repository for some of the foundational resources that are most helpful in exploring the survey of topics within agricultural law. These resources include:
  • Congressional Research Service reports, providing helpful information to introduce and summarize complex agricultural topics; 
  • GAO Reports, providing critical analysis and often criticism of government activities;​
  • Agency reports, especially USDA ERS reports, providing key research and analysis from an agency perspective. 
In addition, the website provides links to that are helpful in updating and expanding the coverage.  

Please check it out.  And yes, you will see some photos' from Professor Schneider's family farm in Minnesota and some familiar faces from our classrooms.

www.foodfarmingsustainability.com -  or go directly to Legal Resources

Friday, March 10, 2017

Summer Schedule Now Posted

Join us for one or all of our summer offerings. Get the details by clicking on our flyer below or contact us for more information at llm@uark.edu.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Lauren Handel-win for Dalmatia

Alumni Update: Lauren Handel

LL.M. Alumna Lauren Handel
LL.M. Alumna Lauren Handel of Handel Food Law LLC secures a win for her client, jam-maker Dalmatia Import Group, Inc. 

Our alumna, Lauren Handel is the principal attorney at Handel Food Law, a law firm that represents independent food and beverage companies. One of her clients is Dalmatia Import Group, Inc. Dalmatia is known for its award-winning fig spread and is recognized as the market leader in specialty fig jam products sold throughout the country at grocery stores and other food markets.  A year ago, Dalmatia discovered that two of its former business partners, New York-based FoodMatch, Inc. and Pennsylvania-based Lancaster Fine Foods, Inc., were working together to launch an impersonator jam called “Divina fig spread.” Around that same time, Dalmatia also learned that those same business partners had sold and distributed fig spread under Dalmatia’s label that was rejected by Dalmatia, and, in other instances, produced and sold fig spread under Dalmatia’s label in Dalmatia’s trademark jars without Dalmatia’s knowledge or consent.

Recognizing that complex federal litigation was needed, Lauren partnered with litigators from her
former law firm, McDermott Will & Emery to bring suit on behalf of her client.  The ensuing case involved trade secret misappropriation, trademark infringement, and counterfeiting claims. On February 24, 2017, the jury handed down a decisive verdict in favor of Dalmatia, the first obtained by a law firm under the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, signed into law in 2016. The jury awarded about $2.5 million in damages. After trebling of damages for counterfeiting, as required by the Lanham Act, the total award is expected to be about $5 million.

The verdict has been reported throughout the business and legal press.  National Law Journal headlined, Jam Maker Jars $2.5M Verdict in Trade Secrets Case, and also mentioned all of the women on Dalmatia's legal team - "McDermott's Nadel was joined on the litigation by partner Natalie Bennett and associate Jennifer Routh, all of the firm's Washington, D.C., office, along with Lauren Handel of the Handel Food Law Firm. Except for Nadel, every member of Dalmatia's trial team was female, including the paralegal, the "hot seat" graphics coordinator and, of course, the client herself."

Lauren earned her bachelor of arts degree, cum laude, from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1997; her JD, cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center in 2002; and an LL.M. in Agricultural and Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2013. She is admitted to practice in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, the US Supreme Court, and the US District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

In her previous role as a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, her practice concentrated on product liability and environmental litigation, as well as workplace safety regulation. McDermott Will & Emery's announcement of the victory is available on their website.

After nearly 10 years of counseling and defending Fortune 50 companies, Lauren decided to put her skills and experience to work for independent businesses that produce the things she is most passionate about − good food and drink.  That brought her to our LL.M. Program and later to form Handel Food Law.  We are delighted with her success. 

For more on Lauren and her practice, visit the Handel Food Law website.

Friday, March 3, 2017

LLM Alum Richard Flournoy: Deputy Administrator for Product Management

LL.M. Alumnus, Richard Flournoy Appointed Deputy Administrator for Product Management

LL.M Alum Richard Flournoy now serves as USDA Risk Management Agency's Deputy Administrator for Product Management.  This position, based in Kansas City, involves oversight over the development of crop insurance policies, the rate structure, and other critical aspects of the federal crop insurance system.

Before taking this new position, Richard worked with USDA RMA in Washington, D.C. serving as Chief of Staff to another alumnus, Brandon Willis, in his role as USDA RMA Administrator.

We congratulate Richard on his service to USDA and to American farmers and are proud of his many accomplishments.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Alumna Marne Coit Teaching at NCSU

Alumni News: Marne Coit at North Carolina State University

LL.M. Alumna Marne Coit
Marne Coit, MSEL, JD, LLM (‘07) continues to teach in agricultural and food law. In August of 2016 she joined the faculty of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. She teaches in the undergraduate program, and also advises students who are pursuing degrees in agribusiness management.
Marne notes that she appreciates being in a department that is focused on student success and provides the support students need to begin successful careers in agriculture. Marne was honored to be a recipient of the “Thank a Teacher” program of the NC State Office of Faculty Development in her first semester.
According to Department Head John Beghin, “It is critical that students learn the legal foundations of our agricultural systems in order to be successful, whether in their own agricultural or food businesses, or in careers working for companies that support these businesses. Marne brings a depth of knowledge in agricultural and food law to the position, which is a benefit to our students and our department.”
Marne’s work in agricultural law in the Department of ARE builds on the work of Professor Ted Feitshans, a well known agricultural law expert and former President of the American Agricultural Law Association, who retired last year. Marne expresses her appreciation for all the work that Ted did to build a solid agricultural law program at NC State.

Marne has been teaching since 2013, when she started teaching Food Systems Law & Policy, an online course in the Sustainable MBA program at Marylhurst University. The MBA in Sustainable Business is an accelerated online degree for working professionals. She also developed and taught the inaugural food policy class at Bard College in Spring 2016.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Kelvin Stroud named Director, International Affairs at Aerospace Industries Association

Alumni News: Kelvin Stroud

LL.M. Alumnus Kelvin Stroud
Kelvin Stroud currently serves as the Director, International Affairs at the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA). His portfolio includes international trade and finance, export control, and customs and supply chain issues. He also serves as the Executive Secretary for the International Forum on Business Ethical Conduct for the Aerospace and Defence Industry (IFBEC).

Previously, Kelvin served in the Obama Administration as a political appointee at the U.S. Department of Commerce. At the Commerce Department he was a Special Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary at the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). While at BIS, Kelvin assisted in operations, management, and communications on issues related to trade, foreign policy, and export compliance. He also managed external affairs for the Under Secretary and participated in the White House Economic Leadership Workshop program.

Prior to joining the Administration, Kelvin served on Capitol Hill where he worked on a variety of issues. Kelvin served as a legislative counsel for the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee under Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln. As legislative counsel, he provided support for policy matters related to agriculture, trade, and transportation issues. He then worked for Senator Mark Pryor as a legislative assistant where he was the chief advisor for a portfolio including international trade, transportation, and agriculture issues. During his time with Senator Pryor, Kelvin was the lead staffer on legislative proposals included in the 2012 Highway bill, 2013 Farm bill, and 2014 Water Resources Development Act.

Before moving to DC, Kelvin practiced law and founded a technology company based in Arkansas. He holds a B.S.B.A. in Finance and a B.S.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Arkansas Walton School of Business and a J.D. from the University of Arkansas. He is currently working on his writing requirement to complete his LL.M. in Agricultural & Food Law at the University of Arkansas.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Anne Ross joins The Cornucopia Institute

Alumni News: Anne Ross

Anne Ross, a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas’ LL.M. program in Agricultural and Food Law has accepted a position as a Policy Analyst with The Cornucopia Institute. The Cornucopia Institute is an organic industry watchdog whose core constituencies are family farmers across the U.S. and consumers concerned about the availability and quality of organic foods. While attending the LL.M. program, Anne focused her studies on the federal regulation of pesticides and food labeling. Her thesis analyzed the health effects of endocrine disrupting pesticides and the inadequacies in the laws governing the use of these pesticides in both the United States and European Union. Anne stated, "I’m looking forward to working with the Cornucopia Institute to help consumers make good choices about organic food in the marketplace. There is no greater influence on health than the food we eat. Protecting the integrity of the organic movement is critical to both public health and environmental stewardship.” Before pursuing her passion in organic policy, Anne worked as a litigator, and handled a variety of cases, including ones involving environmental torts and products liability. Anne is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Furman University and a graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law. A native of South Carolina, she now lives in San Diego, California.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Position Announcement: Managing Attorney, Arkansas Agriculture Department

Position Announcement: Managing Attorney, Arkansas Agriculture Department

The position will have broad responsibilities that will include assisting with the regulatory and administrative functioning of the department which consists of the Arkansas State Plant Board, Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, and Arkansas Forestry Commission.

The Managing Attorney is responsible for conducting legal research and writing legal documents for use in litigation, providing legal assistance to the agency, and supervising subordinate attorneys and legal administrative support staff. This position is governed by state and federal laws and agency/institution policy.

Typical Functions Supervises and manages support staff and subordinate attorneys by interviewing, hiring, providing training, assigning workloads, and evaluating performance of incumbents. Provides legal services and advice to management and divisions on a broad range of matters. Represents the agency in negotiations. Represents the agency in litigation including all administrative and court proceedings. Interprets and analyzes all state and federal laws. Drafts new or revised policy and legislation. Conducts legal research. Drafts and prepares legal briefings and pleadings and responds to subpoenas. May develop and prepare budgets. Performs other duties as assigned.

For more information and to apply visit the Arkansas State Jobs website.

Special Note:
 Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture, Wes Ward and his Deputy Secretary Cynthia Edwards are both alumni of the LL.M. Program.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

M. Melinda Meador, Director Agricultural Trade Office, U.S. Consulate General-Hong Kong & Macau

Alumni Spotlight: M. Melinda Meador

M. Melinda Meador
We are proud of the many accomplishments of our Alumni. This week, we are highlighting the work of LL.M. Alumna M. Melinda Meador who serves as Director of the Agricultural Trade Office, U.S. Consulate General-Hong Kong and Macau.

We recently reached out to Melinda for a brief description of her work. Her summary is below.

As a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service officer, my primary role is to identify problems, provide practical solutions, and work to advance opportunities for U.S. agriculture and support U.S. foreign policy around the globe. Currently, as the Director of the Agricultural Trade Office at the Consulate General of the United States, Hong Kong and Macau, my staff and I focus on expanding U.S. competitiveness in the market and facilitating opportunities that enhance U.S. exports. This work includes communication with high-level government officials, provision of market intelligence and promotional support to help U.S. exporters develop and maintain market share in Hong Kong and Macau.  

I began my four year posting to Hong Kong in August 2014. Previously, I served at the Office of Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Embassy to China in Beijing from 2010-2014 and at the U.S. Embassy to France in Paris from 2005-2009. Prior to my overseas postings, I worked in the FAS Trade Policy Division in Washington, DC. from 2001-2005 and at the USDA Packers and Stockyards Agency from 1998-2001 following my graduation from the LLM program.

Our thanks to Melinda for sharing her excellent work with us.

Do you have news to share? Contact us at llm@uark.edu.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

LL.M. Candidate Kael Bowling to publish two articles

LL.M. Candidate Kael Bowling has two upcoming articles that are sure to be of great interest.

The first, "Why Did the Organic Chicken Cross the Road?  To See the Proposed Livestock Welfare Rules in the National Organic Program" - Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Law (Spring 2017) will provide an overview of the USDA's proposed animal welfare rules applicable to the National Organic Program.  Specifically, it explains the current statutory and regulatory structure of organic agriculture in the United States.  Then, it outlines a few common industry arguments opposing the rules.  The piece concludes by addressing the industry arguments, ultimately arguing that the proposed rules are consistent with Congressional intent and agency authority.

"Old MacDonald Had a Right-to-Farm: Putting a Humane Twist on Missouri's Right-to-Farm Amendment" - Drake Journal of Agricultural Law (Summer 2017) article details Missouri's constitutional amendment conferring upon its farmers and ranchers the right to "engage in farming and ranching practices."  It examines the relationship between animal welfare organizations--like the Humane Society of the United States--and farmers.  The events that inspired the RTF amendment are considered in the context of this relationship.  The article ultimately offers a solution to bring farmers and animal welfare groups together when drafting RTF amendments.

Congratulations Kael.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Jennie Zwaggerman to serve as President Elect of the AALA

LL.M. Alumna Jennifer Zwagerman elected to serve as President of AALA.

Our congratulations to President-Elect Jennifer Williams Zwagerman who will serve as the new President of the American Agricultural Law Association. Zwagerman said, “I firmly believe in the value of this organization to food and agricultural law and policy professionals, and I’m excited to be a part of ensuring AALA remains strong into the future.  We want AALA to be a resource for our members, and to ensure we encompass all the sectors that are involved in the food and agricultural industry.”

Zwagerman currently serves as the Associate Director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center and Director of Career Development at the Drake University Law School.  She is a graduate of the Drake University Law School, and received her LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law.  Zwagerman joined AALA as a law student and has presented at several AALA symposiums since then.  She has served on the AALA Awards Committees, the Communications Committee and the AALA Board of Directors since 2014 where she worked to revise the organization’s by-laws.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hipp Receives President's Lifetime Achievement Award for Service

We are thrilled to share the newswire story below about our colleague and friend Janie Hipp. A huge and well-deserved honor.

Hipp Receives President's Lifetime Achievement Award for Service

Janie Simms Hipp
Photo by Russell CothrenJanie Simms Hipp
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Janie Simms Hipp, director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative in the University of Arkansas School of Law recently received   the President’s Volunteer Service Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award, from the Corporation for National and Community Service, recognized her lifelong dedication to serving the Chickasaw Nation and advancing the nutritional and educational needs of indigenous people across the continent.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor conferred by the corporation and is reserved for individuals who contribute more than 4,000 hours of service in their lifetime. The prize, awarded and signed by President Barack Obama in the fall of 2016, was presented to Hipp in January by corporation officials.
“Janie has dedicated her life to expanding opportunities for Native Americans around the country,” said Max Finberg, former director of AmeriCorps VISTA. “She has lived a life of service to others and is extremely deserving of the Presidential Lifetime Volunteer Service Award. Inspired by those who have come before her, she continues to invest in the next generation of Native leaders through the Tribal Youth Summit and otherwise. I am grateful for the chance I had to work with her to improve life throughout Indian Country. She is a shining example of a servant leader and someone deserving of this recognition.”
“It’s hard to imagine anyone who has done more to empower the next generation of leaders in tribal agriculture than Janie,” said Stacy Leeds, dean of the School of Law. “Her dedication and tireless commitment to mentoring and developing others is inspiring.”
Hipp has helped expand efforts to increase nutritional access for tribal communities and protect and promote traditional agricultural knowledge. She is an attorney and graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law master of laws program in Agricultural and Food Law, the nation’s first advanced law degree program in agricultural and food law.
She is the founder of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Office of Tribal Relations in the Office of the Secretary, and she served two terms on the agency’s Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. She also served on two delegations to the United Nations in the areas of women’s issues and Indigenous issues.
About the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative: The initiative enhances health and wellness in tribal communities by advancing healthy food systems, diversified economic development and cultural food traditions in Indian Country. The initiative empowers tribal governments, farmers, ranchers and food businesses by providing strategic planning and technical assistance; by creating new academic and professional education programs in food systems and agriculture; and by increasing student enrollment in land grant universities in food and agricultural related disciplines.
About University of Arkansas School of Law: The University of Arkansas School of Law prepares students for success through a challenging curriculum taught by nationally recognized faculty, unique service opportunities and a close-knit community that puts students first. With alumni in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, two territories and 20 countries, it has been ranked among the top 10 "Best Values in Legal Education" by the National Jurist magazine for four consecutive years and is among the top 46 public law schools, according to U.S. News and World Report.
About the Corporation for National and Community Service/President’s Volunteer Service Award: In 2003, the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation launched the President's Volunteer Service Award in 2003 to recognize the importance of volunteers to America's strength and national identity and to honor the deeply invested volunteers whose service is multiplied through the inspiration they give others. Today, the program continues as an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service, managed in partnership with Points of Light, an international nonprofit with the mission to inspire, equip, and mobilize people to take action to change the world.
About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

New LL.M. Faculty Member: Lauren Manning

Lauren Manning Joins University of Arkansas School of Law LL.M. Faculty

We are pleased to announce that Lauren will join us for the spring 2017 academic term as an Adjunct Professor, teaching a new online course in Agricultural Cooperatives & Local Food Systems for the LL.M. Program.

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to agricultural business formation and cooperatives by discussing the importance of considering business entity formation at the outset of any agricultural enterprise. Students will acquire skills necessary in counseling clients and ensuring that they, as practitioners, understand the client’s business needs.

The bulk of the course will be spent analyzing agricultural cooperatives, beginning with the statutory authority for their formation. Next, we will map the procedural rules that apply to cooperatives, including formation, operation, and dissolving the entity. We will then transition to an analysis of cooperatives’ more substantive aspects, including criticism of and praise for their efficacy. We will conclude by discussing the various ways that cooperatives may be used to support local food system development, including providing solutions for problems of scale, supporting food hubs, and promoting rural development.

Lauren Manning is a food and agriculture lawyer based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. After four years in private practice handling a wide variety of civil litigation matters, she joined the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Manning writes for AgFunderNews, an online news site covering investment and innovation in agriculture technology. She also teaches as an adjunct professor and raises beef cattle, sheep, goats, and laying hens.

Lauren Manning is known for her work helping to create Envisioning Zero Hunger, an interactive research website focused on global hunger issues, presented during the 2016 United Nations World Food Program. Lauren was selected as the 2016 George Washington Law School’s Human Rights Essay Award Winner for her paper on food security in the context of extractive mining in Greenland. And, she was recently featured in a Huffington Post article on the efforts of young people to break into farming, "Millennial Farmers Fight an Uphill Battle. It’s Time To Support Them."

Lauren holds a Masters of Law in Agricultural & Food Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law. She received her J.D. from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. She has her B.A. degree in Legal Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Lauren is admitted to practice law in California.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New LL.M. Faculty Member Poppy Davis

Poppy Davis joins University of Arkansas

We are pleased to announce that Poppy Davis will join us for the spring 2017 academic term as an Adjunct Professor, teaching a new online course in Agricultural Income Tax for the LL.M. Program.

The course is a survey to introduce common topics in taxation of for farmers and ranchers that covers the basic structure of federal income taxation, common structures of farming and ranching businesses, tax qualities of income and expense, and special topics such as value-added production, self-constructed assets, cooperatives and associations. The emphasis will be on familiarity with major areas of agricultural taxation and awareness of important differences between agricultural taxation and other business types, rather than mastery of particular topics. 

Poppy teaches and advises on agricultural business and policy issues affecting family-scale farms and ranches and non-profits working in food and farming. She provides individual and group training and technical assistance to on a variety of issues including business formation, land tenure, credit, cash flow, taxation, legal liability, including regulatory compliance, and marketing. She also sets up accounting, inventory and budget systems for business and non-profits. She has ongoing affiliations with the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, California Farm Link, the Center for Land Based Learning’s California Farm Academy, The Hopi Foundation, The National Farmers Union Beginning Farmer Institute, and the University of California at Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems Farm Apprentice Program. 

Poppy began her career as a California Certified Public Accountant working in small accounting firms with an emphasis on family-scale farms and ranches and related estates, business, and nonprofit organizations. She translated her intimate knowledge of agricultural issues and farm-family decision-making to the policy arena, working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), first for the crop insurance program in the Western Region and most recently as the National Program Leader for Small Farms and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers in Washington, D.C. While at the USDA she served as a member of the management team for Secretary Vilsack’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, and co-founded the USDA 4 Veterans, Reservists & Military Families, and Women and Working Lands workgroups. 

Poppy holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of California at Davis, a Masters in Journalism from Georgetown University, and a Juris Doctor with a certificate in Agricultural Law from Drake University Law School. Poppy is also a past fellow of the California Agricultural Leadership Program (Class 35).
Poppy Davis Joins University of Arkansas School of Law

Monday, February 6, 2017

Federal Farm Programs & Crop Insurance with Allen Olson

This week the LL.M. Program will be hosting Visiting Professor Allen Olson who will be teaching a coursed for us titled "Federal Farm Programs & Crop Insurance". 

The course, which is unofficially titled "Representing Farmers – Farm Programs, Crop Insurance, and a Few Other Things You Need to Know!" will take place over the span of three days.

A brief summary of the course coverage is below:

Lawyers who represent farmers find over time that the legal assistance that farmers want, and will pay for, is not always what the lawyer thinks those clients need. A lawyer may sometimes be able to educate a farmer as to additional legal needs, but the lawyer cannot neglect the core legal matters affecting farmers if that lawyer wants to stay in business.

Farm subsidies are always near and dear to a farmer’s heart, and in this course, we will briefly look at the history of farm programs and the new 2014 farm bill. We will also talk about some of the practical aspects of structuring farming operations so as to maximize farm program payments.

Allen Olson has been practicing law for over 30 years. Since 1996, his practice has been concentrated primarily on agricultural law including federal farm programs, crop insurance and conservation easements.

Olson represents farmers, ranchers and related businesses in Georgia and nationwide. He helps farmers structure their operations to maximize their farm program payments while complying with USDA rules and also represents farmers and ranchers in federal and state court litigation and in USDA administrative appeals. Olson serves as debtor’s counsel in Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies.

Based in Albany, Georgia, his practice is concentrated on federal farm programs, payment limitations, USDA administrative appeals, crop insurance litigation, conservation easements, farm business planning, farm bankruptcies, and other matters affecting farmers and related agricultural businesses.

Olson received his B.A. from Cornell University in 1971, his J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1974, and his LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1996. He practiced law in Virginia and Nebraska and taught at the University of Arkansas prior to moving to South Georgia in 2001. Allen has over 30 years of experience as a practicing lawyer in addition to his time spent teaching. He represents farmers throughout Georgia and nationwide.

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.

We are also excited to announce that Allen will be sitting down with Ozarks at Large while he is here to talk about the importance of crop insurance. More on that to come.

New Opportunities for 2017-18 LL.M. Candidates

The LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law is pleased to announce assistantship and scholarship opportunities for the 2017-18 academic year.  For more information about our academic program, see blog post at LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law.

New LL.M. Assistantship Opportunities 

We will offer three new assistantship opportunities that provide for a full tuition waiver, plus a monthly stipend. Candidates selected for these positions are enrolled as full-time degree candidates in the LL.M. Program, with part time work duties designed to enhance their career development and build their professional resumes. Only face-to-face LL.M. candidates are eligible for these particular positions.

Advisor, The Journal of Food Law & Policy, The Arkansas Law Review, and Arkansas Law Notes
  • This position calls for an LL.M. candidate to help guide the three student-edited publications at the law school, the Journal of Food Law & Policy, the Arkansas Law Review, and Arkansas Law Notes. Duties will include advising the student Boards and assisting with the teaching of a specialized course in scholarly writing. This position will be designated to an LL.M. candidate with a background of service on a law review or journal and a demonstrated interest in academic scholarship. 
Adjunct Instructor, Political Science Pre-Law 
  • This position includes service as an adjunct instructor teaching a course in "The Judicial Process" within the Political Science Department in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. This class explores the the U.S. legal system and is designed for undergraduate pre-law students. It is taught in the law school. This position will be designated to an LL.M. candidate with a background in political science and/or jurisprudence, legal practice or clerking experience, and an interest in teaching.
Academic Success, Accelerated J.D. Program for Foreign-Trained Lawyers
  • This position will serve as a source of academic support to a small number (2-6) of candidates within the Accelerated J.D. Program for Foreign-Trained Lawyers. The students in this program are attorneys with their law license from a jurisdiction outside of the United States. More information on the Accelerated J.D. program is available on our website. Additional work under the guidance of the law school's Director of Academic Success will also be included. This position is designed for someone with an interest in building international connections and a small group teaching experience.
Additional graduate and research assistantships may be available. 

Additional Scholarship and Fellowship Opportunities

All LL.M. candidates, including distance students are also able to apply for the Leland Leatherman Cooperative Law Scholarship, the Donald B. Pedersen Scholarships and the Benjamin Franklin Lever Tuition Fellowship. Visit our Costs and Financial Aid webpage for more information.

Qualified candidates will be matched to the appropriate assignment based on their background and experience. Interested applicants should:

1) Apply to the LL.M. Program 
2) Note an interest in one or more of the available positions by a statement included with the application packet. 

Contact us at llm@uark.edu or 479-575-3706 for more information.  

Saturday, February 4, 2017

LL.M. Program Accepting Applications

The LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law is accepting applications for the class beginning in the Fall of 2017. 

For over 35 years, the University of Arkansas has been recognized as the leader in agricultural and food law education. With graduates working in 38 different states and at least 18 foreign countries, our network of alumni is unsurpassed. In addition to our resident faculty, our visiting professors include experts in specialized agricultural and food law topics from Washington D.C., Washington state, California, Iowa, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, and Vermont. Through live video-conferencing, we link with students and professors in other countries, giving our studies a true global reach. Our extensive curriculum reflects both the practical and the policy issues that impact agriculture and our overall food system.

Attending the Program through our face-to-face option allows students to experience the beauty and charm of Fayetteville, Arkansas, a picturesque college town nestled at the foot of the Ozark Mountains.  With a vibrant local food community and an award winning Farmers Market, the Fayetteville food and farm scene complements our academic study.  Fayetteville has been recognized among the best places to live in America by U.S. News & World Report (ranked third in 2016); was listed as one of the top 10 best college towns by Livability.com and was listed as one of the “Best Places for Business and Careers” by Forbes. With a low cost-of-living, a moderate climate, and abundant cultural opportunities, most our students find their living experience almost as rewarding as the studies.

Recognizing that not all of our students cannot join us in Arkansas, we also offer classes by distance instruction.  Distance students can video-conference into the classroom, participating as a member of the class from their home or office.  Classes are recorded for later viewing.  Online courses provide for carefully structured directed learning, often with videos, online participation, and occasional video-conferenced discussion groups.  All of our distance courses are designed with the assistance of the experts working with the University of Arkansas Global Campus, assuring the best quality instruction and design.

There is complete integration between our face-to-face and distance programs, with our distance students always welcome to come to campus and our online courses open to all.

For more information visit our website, follow our blog at agfoodllm, and follow us on Twitter @agfoodlaw.  Or call us at 479.575.3706;  email LLM.uark.edu.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Vade Donaldson joins the Foundry Law Group

Alumni News: Vade Donaldson

We are pleased to report that LL.M. Alumni Vade Donaldson is now serving as a Legal Officer at the Foundry Law Group in Seattle. Below is a segment from Vade's Bio.

Equipped with an intimate knowledge of the challenges that often litter the road between farm and table, Vade helps farmers and food entrepreneurs do what they love and do best—create, innovate, produce, and farm—by navigating the complex laws and regulations in Agricultural and Food Law. 

Click here for more on Vade and the Foundry Law Group