Monday, September 18, 2006

Agricultural Law Conference Opportunities

There are a number of interesting agricultural law conferences this fall. Here are a few highlights.

On September 28 & 29, there will be a wide-ranging legal conference in Billings, Montana called simply, Montana Agriculture: Legal Issues. Montana Governor and rancher Brian Schweitzer will deliver the keynote address, “The Future of Agriculture in Montana.” Conference presentations will include several sessions on water law issues, as well as sessions on The Endangered Species Act, Pesticide Regulation, Hunting and GameManagement, Agriculture in Transition, Farm Credit Issues, and Estate Planning.

The American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) is hosting its Annual Agricultural Law Symposium, October 13-14, 2006 at the Hyatt Regency in Savannah, Georgia. This conference, organized by the AALA's President-elect, Steve Halbrook of Farm Foundation, will include updates on commercial law, environmental law, bankruptcy, and tax law. There also will be sessions on farm and ranch estate taxation, current food law issues, federal farm bill projections, farm land preservation, marketing orders, energy issues, and farm cooperatives. Several special sessions include a panel discussion by regional commissioners of agriculture on l policy issues affecting the southeastern United States, a discussion of the face of agriculture in the 21st Century, and the Second Annual Bock Chair Mini-Symposium on Animal Identification and Traceability in a Global Context.

The American Farmland Trust (AFT) will be hosting, Farming on the Edge: The Next Generation, in conjunction with the Delaware Department of Agriculture November 13-15, 2006, at the Clayton Hall Conference Center in Newark, Delaware.

AFT hopes to bring together rural and urban residents "who care about America’s rural legacy, land use and the future of farming and ranching." The conference promises a discussion of "the next generation of national farm policies, farmland protection programs, community plans, production practices and markets, and farmers themselves." There will be 40 different workshops, welcoming remarks by Delaware’s Governor Ruth Ann Minner and Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse and key note speakers including Delaware native Michael Ableman, a farmer, educator, writer and photographer, and Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s largest manufacturer of organic yogurt.

Lancaster, Pa.And, particularly relevant to the previous posting on rural life, The Rural Women's Studies Association will hold their annual conference in Lancaster, Pennsylvania from October 5-7, 2006. The RWSA is an international association organized "for the advancement and promotion of farm and rural women's gender studies in historical perspective." Their annual conference brings together academics, members of rural advocacy groups, agricultural extension professionals, and women engaged in farming operations. Professor Emerita Dr. Joan M. Jensen, New Mexico State University, will deliver the keynote address, "Telling Stories, Keeping Secrets." In honor of Mary Neth's contributions to historical scholarship and to the RWSA, several sessions will reflect her influence on the field of rural women's history. As with previous conferences, the past and present of the conference location will be featured. Conference planners note that this year's location, Lancaster County , best known as the home of the "Pennsylvania Dutch," demonstrates in microcosm many of the issues facing rural women, men, and families today.

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