Agricultural Law Community of Practice



What Is eXtension?extension

As the nation’s leading resource for agricultural and food law research and information, the National Agricultural Law Center is uniquely positioned to take the lead in the development of the Agricultural and Food Law Community of PracticeeXtension (pronounced “E – extension”) is an Internet-based educational partnership of the seventy-four 1862 and 1890 institutions of the land-grant university system. It provides complementary online resources to the community-based Cooperative Extension System and brings experts from around the country together in a virtual setting that allows coordination and development of research-based knowledge and information.

According to the eXtension website, eXtension provides:

Experts work in subject matter-based eXtension teams known as “Communities of Practice“.  The National Agricultural Law Center is the lead institution for the Agricultural and Food Law Community of Practice, which focuses on the legal needs of the nation’s agricultural community, including those involved in the production, processing, distribution and marketing of our food and fiber supply.

Currently, the Agricultural and Food Law Community of Practice is a network of over 40 individuals from approximately 20 states across the nation. Attorneys and researchers from land-grant universities, state and federal government and private practice are working together to develop resources such as fact sheets, articles, interactive lessons, webinars and frequently asked questions.

The Agricultural and Food Law Community of Practice is comprised of sub-groups working on specific areas of interest. Currently there are seven sub-groups, and as the Community grows new sub-groups will be created that will reflect the subjects covered in the more than four dozen National Agricultural Law Center Reading Rooms.  Current sub-groups are:

The Environmental & Natural Resources Sub-Group focuses on major legislation impacting natural resources such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and CERCLA. It also addresses climate change and conservation issues. The Business Organizations & Taxation Sub-Group addresses issues such as business formation, business organization options, legal liability, and tax issues that are of special concern for agricultural businesses.

The Estate Planning & Farm Succession Sub-Group provides information on estate planning options and impacts and resources for farm succession planning.   The Agricultural Labor Sub-Group provides information on the many federal laws and regulations that affect agricultural workers and employers.

The Agricultural Diversification Sub-Group offers information and resources on the National Organic Program, sustainability, agritourism, specialty crops, community supported agriculture, farmers’ markets and roadside stands. The Renewable Energy Sub-Group focuses on the increasing connection between agriculture and energy and provides information about federal and state programs and addresses the concerns associated with different types of renewable energy, such as wind leases and growing dedicated energy crops.  The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Sub-Group details different types of ADR and highlights resources that are available to those involved in disputes.

Academic partners in the Agricultural Law Community of Practice include attorneys from University of Arkansas, Pennsylvania State University, Iowa State University, Ohio State University, University of Georgia, Oregon State University, Virginia Tech, University of Nebraska, University of Illinois, North Carolina State University and many others. Membership continues to grow and diversify.

We encourage interested persons to join eXtension as well.  To become a member of the Agricultural Law Community of Practice, or to learn more about eXtension, please contact Rusty Rumley at rrumley@uark.edu.


Key Features of eXtension

In addition to providing research-based unbiased information and resources, eXtension also has several interactive features, including “Ask an Expert,” online courses, webinars, and “Frequently Asked Questions.”

“Ask an Expert” is a technical term associated with eXtension that is a central eXtension feature designed to allow public users to submit questions to be answered within the eXtension system. Typically, a user-submitted question is answered within 48 hours.  Ask an Expert expands the resources and knowledge base available to Cooperative Extension Service clientele.  The Ask an Expert feature provides research and information for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice.

Online courses are available in a variety of subject areas and serve as an alternative to in-class instruction.  Users have access to courses and curricula from the leading experts within the Cooperative Extension Service regardless of physical location.  The eXtension Agricultural Law Community of Practice will partner with other Communities of Practice to fully leverage the content and curriculum delivery available to the nation’s agricultural community.

Webinars allow experts from anywhere around the country to communicate effectively with those who need the information quickly and efficiently. The Agricultural Law Community of Practice is developing a series of webinars on a variety of topic areas and plans to host regularly scheduled webinars on recent court decisions, regulations and laws. Additionally, the Agricultural Law Community of Practice is partnering with other Communities of Practice, such as the Sustainable Agricultural Energy Community, to provide webinars on renewable energy, contracts and leasing.


Building Partnerships and Competitive Grant Funds

The Agricultural Law Community of Practice serves as a dynamic resource that can be utilized to provide multidisciplinary content in a variety of formats.  In particular, the National Agricultural Law Center is eager to leverage the eXtension Agricultural Law Community of Practice to build national partnerships and seek competitive grant funds.  If you are interested in partnering with the National Agricultural Law Center and the Agricultural Law Community of Practice on a competitive grant or other project, please contact Center staff at nataglaw@uark.edu.