The University of Arkansas School of Law is proud to be one of the only LL.M. programs in the U.S. that offers a full curriculum of specialized classes designed specifically for the LL.M. Program. Our courses address the most current legal issues involving food and agriculture. Our curriculum and the focus in each of the individual courses varies from year to year as professors incorporate emerging issues.
In addition to our regular course offerings, LL.M. candidates may participate in experiential learning opportunities, engage in independent study and/or take related courses outside of the Program. Individual schedules are developed with the Director of the Program.
Required Courses for the LL.M. Degree
Introduction to the Law of Food & Agriculture (1 credit) – Orientation course that provides an overview of the legal and policy issues presented by the production of food and fiber, including a discussion of structural changes in agriculture, sustainability issues, and trends in consumer interest.
Agriculture and the Environment (2-3 credits) – Agriculture is increasingly criticized for its impact on the environment. This course examines the tensions between the desire to produce food and fiber efficiently and concern for sustainability and the protection of natural resources.
Food Law & Policy (1-3 credits) – An introduction to the network of laws that govern our food system. An overview of regulation by both the Food & Drug Administration and the USDA is provided. Policy considerations are discussed in light of current issues.
Federal Farm Programs and Crop Insurance (1-2 credits) – Survey of the complex network of federal farm programs and federal crop insurance programs that are available to U.S. producers.
Agricultural Perspectives (2 credits) – Agriculture has a rich and varied history, and today’s issues are often best understood in the context of this history.This course examines a wide range of social and economic issues, considering their origin and how history is reflected in today’s policies. The course includes a series of documentaries.
Advanced Writing in Agricultural & Food Law (1-4 credits) – Research in a specialized area of agricultural or food law and development of a paper that demonstrates rigorous legal analysis and quality legal writing.
Each year, at least 24 credits of specialized courses are offered. In addition to the required courses above, additional courses from the following list of approved classes will be offered, taking into account current issues and student interest:
Administrative Process and Practice in Agricultural & Food Law ( 1 credit) – Study of administrative law & practice in the specialized areas of agricultural and food law.Relevant regulatory agencies are introduced.Rulemaking, adjudication, and judicial review are covered.
Agricultural Bankruptcy (1-2 credits) – Examination of bankruptcy law as applied to agricultural operations, including Chapter 12 – Family Farmer Reorganization. No prior knowledge of bankruptcy is required.
Agricultural Biotechnology (1-2 credits) – Study of the regulation of agricultural biotechnology, including the approval process for new technologies, the patenting of new products and technologies, and the restrictions associated with their use.
Agricultural Cooperatives and Local Food Systems (1 credit) - Introduction to the legal structure of a cooperative and examination of the recent use of the cooperative model in encouraging local and regional food systems
Agricultural Finance & Credit (1-3 credits) - Study of the legal issues surrounding the financing of agricultural operations, including credit availability, agricultural security issues under the Uniform Commercial Code, and debt restructuring opportunities. Special focus is on lending options offered by the Farm Service Agency and the Farm Credit System.
Agricultural Labor Law (1-2 credits) - Study of the legal, social, and economic issues that arise from the extensive use of migrant labor in U.S. agricultural operations. Topics include agricultural exemptions from labor laws, the Migrant & Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, and agriculture’s reliance on undocumented alien workers.
Agricultural Policy & the Federal Budget (1 credit) – Study of the impact of the Office of Management and Budget and the cost scoring system on federal agricultural policy making in Washington, D.C.Current farm policy issues are discussed within the context of budgetary constraints and pressures.
Agricultural Water Law (1-2 credits) – Study of the basic legal principles applicable to water rights through consideration of water rights for agricultural use.
Energy Policy & Agriculture(1 credit) – Survey of the legal dimensions of various energy issues occurring on agricultural lands and in rural areas, including wind power, solar power, ethanol production, power line transmission, and fracking.
Environmental Regulation of Agriculture (2 credits) – This course examines the major federal environmental statutes applicable to agricultural operations with attention to current cases and controversies under those laws.It also explores the regulatory authority and enforcement practices of the EPA and other agencies.
Farmed Animal Welfare Law & Policy (1-2 credits) – Examination of the legal issues involved in determining welfare standards for animals raised for food.In addition to introducing federal animal welfare and humane slaughter laws, state referenda, state law standards, and so-called “ag gag” laws are studied.
Federal Nutrition Law & Policy (1-2 credits) – Study of federal nutrition policy, including the development of the federal nutrition standards, the framework for the food assistance programs, the federal school lunch program, and the government’s efforts to encourage healthy eating.
Federal Regulation of Food Labeling (2 credits) – Study of the federal laws regarding the labeling of food, considering both FDA and USDA regulation. The course includes the study of nutrition labeling, health claims, advertising issues, and efforts to curb the obesity epidemic through educational labeling.
Federal Regulation of Food Safety (2 credits) - Study of the federal laws that regulate food safety, considering the FDA authority under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as expanded by the Food Safety Modernization Act and USDA authority to regulate meat and poultry safety. Current issues and concerns are addressed.
Food Justice: Law & Policy (1-2 credits) - Survey of the legal and policy issues raised by the food justice movement. Topics covered include food insecurity and poverty, public health concerns such as obesity, the economics of healthy eating, food deserts, and food waste.
Food Safety Litigation (1-2 credits) – Examination of food borne illness litigation with an initial introduction to food product liability followed by the study of actual cases brought against food manufacturers
Food, Farming & Sustainability (1-3 credits) – Survey of the complex legal topics that make up the body of agricultural and food law focusing on current issues of significance.
Global Food Security (1-2 credits) - Survey of the role of law and policy in affecting problems of global food security in the face of increasing population, changing diets, environmental pressures, and climate change.
Independent Research in Agricultural & Food Law (1-2 credits) – Independent research in agricultural and food law conducted under the supervision of a faculty member.
Introduction to Agricultural Income Taxation (1 credit) – Overview of federal income tax law as applied to agricultural operations.
Legal Issues: Indigenous Food & Agriculture (1-3 credits) – This course examines the complex interaction of tribal law, treaties, and federal agricultural and food laws, including property law applicable to tribal lands.
Specialized Legal Research and Writing (1 credit) - Legal writing skill development, including training in plain-English legal writing, electronic research training, and publication strategies.
Local/Regional Food Systems & the Law (1-2 credits) – This course examines recent efforts to re-establish local and regional food systems and explores the attendant legal and policy issues.
Regulated Markets in Agriculture (1-2 credits) – Study of the economic regulation of specific sectors of the agricultural industry focusing on perishable agricultural commodities (fruits & vegetables), and dairy products. Included is the study of formal and informal administrative review.
Regulation of Livestock Marketing & Sales (1 credit) – Study of the regulation of livestock and poultry sales under the Packers and Stockyards Act, with a particular focus on production contracting, mandatory price reporting, industry concentration, and anti-trust issues.
Selected Issues in Agricultural and Food Law (1-3 credits) – Specialized study of one or more current issues in agricultural and food law, regulation, and policy
Selected Issues in International Food & Agriculture (1-3 credits) – Specialized study of one or more current legal or policy issues related to international agriculture and food systems
Urban Agriculture: Law & Policy (1 credit) – Study of the legal issues raised by the rising interest in urban agricultural activities.Topics of study include land use and zoning issues, farmers market issues, and legal issues associated with community sponsored agriculture.