Texas A&M Law Review hosts agriculture law symposium

November 10, 2015

Texas A&M Law ReviewOn Oct. 30, 2015, 12 speakers from 11 states gathered at Texas A&M University School of Law to participate in the Texas A&M Law Review symposium “Farm to Table: Agriculture Law in the Era of Sustainability” that featured renowned practitioners, scholars, and experts in agriculture law who addressed a variety of topics centered on the sustainability of agriculture in modern society.

Drawing from Texas A&M University’s rich agricultural history, the Texas A&M Law Review designed the symposium to clarify a wealth of legal issues facing the agriculture industry and to promote practical approaches for achieving sustainability.  

“Agriculture touches everyone, whether they know it or not, and legal issues related to water usage, land use, and production regulations have direct impacts on consumers,” said Brent Doré, symposia editor of the Texas A&M Law Review.   “I’m proud that the Law Review is situated to encourage attorneys, policymakers, and law students to develop solutions to these critical issues.”

Dr-Mark-Hussey-lrsympfall15Dr. Mark A. Hussey, Texas A&M Vice Chancellor and Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

In his morning keynote, Mark A. Hussey, Texas A&M Vice Chancellor and Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, discussed present challenges to agriculture production in light of a continuously increasing population. Hussey remarked on the timeliness of the symposium.

“The way agriculture is structured today, the thing that everyone in agriculture really needs to have is a good banker, a good person to do estate planning, and a good attorney because of the myriad of issues that impact farmers and ranchers,” he said.

“Agriculture law is a really open environment for students that have an interest in natural resources and food production. It’s at the extraordinarily important intersection of food, energy, and water.”

Chen-lrsymp-fall15Prof. James M. Chen, Justin Smith Morrill Chair in Law at Michigan State University College of Law

Professor James M. Chen, Justin Smith Morrill Chair in Law at Michigan State University College of Law, delivered an afternoon keynote that challenged agriculture law to prioritize its focus on addressing issues likely to change our world permanently.

Noting the vital role agriculture has played in shaping the development of humankind and civilization, Chen dissected some of the current controversies within agriculture law, including how the potential loss of phosphorous would undermine efforts to feed the future world population.

He concluded that "now, more than ever, agricultural law is critical because poor public policy can lead to unnecessary & preventable food insecurity."

The symposium featured a series of panel presentations exploring farm and ranchland sustainability, the future of crop and food sustainability, and sustainable animal agriculture.

Jim Bradbury, professor of agriculture law at Texas A&M School of Law and practicing attorney, stated that the symposium underscored the key role that the Texas A&M Law School will play in agriculture policy nationally.

“The school’s reputation combined with the depth of the A&M System’s longstanding role in agriculture creates an unrivaled resource to address the cutting-edge questions for global agriculture,” he said. “The credit for the success of the program belongs to the Law Review and the talented thought leaders who joined us for the day-long forum.”

Brent Dore and Darren Turley at the Texas A&M Law Review agriculture symposiumL-R: Darren Turley, Texas Association of Dairyman, and 3L Brent Doré, symposia editor

Attorneys, law students, and industry experts alike found the topic engaging and relevant. Michael Johnson, assistant market administrator at the United States Department of Agriculture, as well as a third-year law student at Texas A&M University School of Law, said the symposium showed that agriculture affects almost every facet of daily life.

“Everyone has to eat, … everyone has to have shelter,” he said. “Agriculture law generally is at the center of everything that everybody does every day.”

Professor Lisa Rich, faculty advisor of Texas A&M Law Review, closed the event with the enduring words of Thomas Jefferson, emphasizing the reason for the symposium: “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness."

Law-Review-Group-fall15sympTexas A&M Law Review staff

- Article by 2L L. Ellen Flint, Texas A&M Law Review staff editor. Photos by Doug Thurman, Texas A&M School of Law.