Lessons from My Agricultural Law Course (Part 1): What Is Agricultural Law?

This semester I am teaching a course on Agricultural Law at the Texas A&M University School of Law in Ft. Worth.  As part of that, I have gathered up materials on a variety of agricultural law related issues for my students.  One of my main goals is to share practical information with my students that will help them in the event they end up in rural Texas practicing agricultural law.  In light of that, I thought that I would share some of the more interesting articles I come across with you all on the blog.  Don’t worry, I will not be assigning any case briefs or requiring homework assignments, but for those of you interested in agricultural law issues, some of these articles and resources might be helpful to you.


The first topic we tackled in class is the fundamental, yet complex question, of what is agricultural law?  It may be more broad than you think!

  • This article by Susan A. Schneider, Director of the Agricultural Law LLM program at the University of Arkansas seeks to answer what agricultural law is as well as provide the reasons why it is an important area of study.
  • New York City based agricultural law attorney, Cari Rincker, expanded on Dr. Schneider’s thoughts in this blog post.  As Cari’s blog states, “In essence, agriculture law touches upon nearly every aspect of the law and regulates perhaps one of the most complex, diverse industries in the world.”
  • Roger A. McEowen, Professor in Agricultural Law at Iowa State University and the Director of the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation, published a great law review article titled “Agricultural Law Developments Shaping the Sector and Legal Practice.”  In his article, Professor McEowen provides a list and discussion of the major areas shaping the agricultural sector and legal practice.  His list includes:  tax laws in a constant state of flux, increasing emphasis on formal contractual relationships, antitrust law, patent law, farm program administrative appeals, environmental law, and bankruptcy law.
  • Professor Neil D. Hamilton, Distinguished Chair of Law and Director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University wrote an interesting article titled “Harvesting the Law:  Personal Reflections on the Thirty Years of Change in Agricultural Legislation.”  His article discusses the history of agricultural law in the United States, offers various characterizations of agricultural legislation, and comments on likely future legislative actions impacting agriculture.



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