Agricultural and Food Law Students Explore Critical Emerging Issues

February 16, 2023  |  by Susan Schneider, University of Arkansas School of Law

Editor's Note: This article was republished from the blog of the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law.

The overlapping food and agriculture industries have long confronted challenges in meeting the needs of markets and consumers. They are feeding an ever-growing global population with diminishing natural resources and increased inequities in consumer buying power. They face the growing complexity of global supply chains amid calls for greater transparency and enhanced safety assurances. Climate change causes new disruptions. Issues about our food system are in the news almost daily.

The attorneys in the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law confront these challenges in a dynamic classroom and virtual setting, preparing students to better serve the food and agriculture industries from farm to plate as legal professionals.

Take, for example, the question about food production’s environmental impact. In "Agriculture and the Environment," Christopher Kelley guides his students through debates over the extent to which laws and regulations can or should mandate good environmental stewardship practices versus the extent to which market forces should be left to address these issues.

LL.M. students also learn how food production affects the natural world, from air and water pollution to soil erosion and climate change, and how various legal and regulatory interventions address these impacts.

In "Agricultural Water Law," Lauren Bernadett, an experienced California water law attorney, introduces students to the challenges and complexity of water law as it impacts agricultural production. Students explore the legal issues underlying the very current mega-drought issues in the southwest.

In "The Right to Food," Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile describes the historical development of the concept of a right to food and looks at how this emerging right is affecting legal and non-legal tools to ensure that people have the food they need to survive and thrive.

In "Future of Food," Susan Schneider, director of the program, explores the challenges and opportunities presented – asking important questions about emerging technologies such as, will cell-cultured meat become a market reality and how should it be regulated? Who will control our agricultural lands and our food system in an increasingly consolidated industry?

Our fragmented system of food regulation is explored in "Food Law & Policy," and then expanded on in "Federal Regulation of Food," both taught by Susan Schneider. From the infant formula crisis to forever chemicals in food packaging, the government’s role in keeping our food safe, accurately labeled, and available is an important part of our curriculum.

"Nutrition Law and Policy," taught this year by Margaret Sova McCabe, introduces the federal nutrition law framework including the Dietary Guidelines and the food assistance programs, addressing issues that are currently in the news and on the minds of policymakers.

Students in the program come from all over the United States and the globe to study with us, either on-campus or by distance, bringing with them unique perspectives. Most students have practiced law in a variety of settings before joining the LL.M. program, and these professional experiences provide a rich context in which to examine these complex issues.

The LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law is offered 100% online with in-state tuition offered to distance students. The program can be completed in just two semesters (24 credits needed to graduate) with the option of up to four years to finish. Demand is increasing for attorneys who understand the complex issues covered in the program.

The program offers a full range of distance components to combine the educational benefits of classroom interaction with the efficiencies of remote participation. Distance students may participate in on-campus classes live through synchronous videoconferencing when scheduling permits. Classroom capture and online exercises provide a convenient alternative. In addition, the program offers innovative hybrid courses, self-paced, guided online study, and condensed on-campus opportunities.

Photo of Susan Schneider

Susan Schneider

University of Arkansas School of Law

Susan Schneider is the William H. Enfield Professor of Law and serves as director of the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. She is nationally recognized for her work integrating agricultural and food law studies and for a holistic approach to studying our food system. She is the author of the book Food, Farming, and Sustainability: Readings in Agricultural Law and many published articles on agricultural and food law issues. She grew up on a family farm in Minnesota and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the College of St. Catherine (Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Gamma Mu), earned her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Minnesota School of Law, and earned her LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Online Learner Blog Home


LL.M. in Agricultural and Food Law

The demand is increasing for attorneys who understand the complex issues covered in our LL.M. program in Agricultural and Food Law. Connections between food and health, food labeling and food safety, the impact of climate change on food production, farmed animal welfare, and environmental sustainability are but some of the emerging issues affecting all levels of our food system. For over thirty years, the U of A School of Law has led the nation in agricultural and food law education.

Program Page