New Agricultural and Food Law Consortium launched

Center to cover more than 50 areas of agricultural and food law.

Understanding how food and agriculture laws affect land- and sea-based food, fiber and energy production is the mission of a federally funded and newly launched four-university partnership that makes up the Agricultural and Food Law Consortium.

The consortium, part of and led by the National Agricultural Law Center (NALC), which is a unit of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture in Fayetteville, Ark. will expand the reach of objective agricultural and food law research and information to the nation’s agricultural community of producers, state and federal policymakers, attorneys, Cooperative Extension Service professionals, and others at the state, regional, and national levels.

The National Sea Grant Law Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law, The Agricultural Law Resource Reference Center at Penn State Law, and The Agricultural and Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University join NALC as partners in the initiative, which is supported by a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)National Agricultural Library, an entity with the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

The center covers more than 50 areas of agricultural and food law including biotechnology, the farm bill, states’ right-to-farm laws, environmental law, animal well-being issues, and many others, organizers said.

“This is a first-of-its kind partnership in the United States and a natural expansion of our longstanding formal partnership with the USDA National Agricultural Library,” said Harrison Pittman, NALC director.  “We are very proud to continue our work with these consortium partners for many years to come.”

One of the consortium’s first project areas will be a webinar series covering various issues in agricultural and food law such as state laws on GMO labeling, food safety and shale energy, organizers said.

The consortium also launched an online survey that will help define its long-term research and information agenda. Additional information about the consortium, including a link to the online survey, can be found online at nationalaglawcenter.org/consortium.

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