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

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ben Thomas to serve as the new Commissioner of Agriculture in Montana

Alumni News: Ben Thomas

Governor Bullock has selected Ben Thomas to serve as the Director of the Department of Agriculture.  Ben has served in several departments within the US Department of Agriculture throughout his career most recently serving as the Deputy Under Secretary, Marketing and Regulatory Programs.  He received his undergraduate degree from Austin College and went on to earn a Juris Doctorate at Washington University School of Law and a Masters of Laws from the University of Arkansas School of Law in food and agricultural law. He served as legislative aide and counsel for Senator Max Baucus, where he played a lead role in developing the Farm Bill.  Ben was raised on his family’s farm which is still in production today.

Click here for the full announcement.