Professional Staff - National Agricultural Law Center

Professional Staff

Center Director
(479) 575-7640 

Harrison M. Pittman, B.S., J.D., LL.M.

Harrison received his Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, after attending Mississippi State University and graduating from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He then earned an LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law’s Graduate Program in Agricultural Law. Harrison has worked at the Center since 2001.  During that time, his title and job duties have spanned the range of graduate assistant, staff attorney, co-director, interim director and currently, director; in which capacity he has served since 2007.

He has taught at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law as part of the Ben J. Altheimer Distinguished Professorship for Agricultural Law, and has also served as a visiting professor at the Drake University Law School.  In addition, he has taught Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Introduction to Agricultural Law in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, & Life Sciences, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness.  In that role, he was awarded the 2011-2012 Agricultural Business Club Teaching Award.

He is an active member of the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA), the nation’s only professional organization focused on the legal needs of the agricultural community, and was the first recipient of the AALA’s Excellence in Agricultural Law award in 2010.  Additionally, he is an active member of the Arkansas Bar Association, where he helped found the Agricultural Law Section, later served as interim chair and chair, and currently serves as vice-chair.  He is a frequent presenter on a range of topics and issues, including the farm bill, water law, and environmental law. He has authored articles on numerous subjects, including the National Organic Program, the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, the constitutionality of corporate farming laws, pesticide regulation and litigation, agritourism, states’ recreational use statutes, the Packers and Stockyards Act, agricultural bankruptcy issues, and environmental laws impacting agriculture.

Senior Staff Attorney
(479) 387-2331 | C.V.

Elizabeth Rumley, B.A., J.D., LL.M.

Beth was raised on a small family farm in Ida, Michigan. She attended Michigan State University, where she was an active competitor, president, and captain of the Mock Trial team that participated in competitions across the Midwest. She also interned in the chambers of Magistrate Judge Virginia M. Morgan, United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan. After graduating from MSU in 2004, Beth returned home and commuted to law school at the University of Toledo, where she graduated cum laude in May of 2007. While in law school, she volunteered as a coach of the Ida High School Mock Trial Team and continued to assist with the MSU team. In addition, she interned at the Michigan prosecutor’s offices of Monroe and Lenawee counties, with the United States Attorney’s Office in Toledo, and for the Honorable David A. Katz of the Northern District of Ohio. From 2005-2008, she was also employed by the Toledo law firm of Cosme, D’Angelo and Szollosi.  She is licensed to practice law in Michigan, Ohio and Oklahoma.

At the Center, her primary research and scholarship focus is on legal issues in animal agriculture, and she frequently lectures on those issues and others to audiences nationwide.  Additionally, she is an adjunct faculty member in the  University of Arkansas’ Center of  Excellence for Poultry Science, Animal  Science Department,  and the Agricultural  Economics and Agribusiness Department.  Further, Mrs. Rumley works closely with and is on the advisory board of the University  of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Center for Food Animal Well-Being.

She has co-taught a course titled “Animals and Agricultural Production, Law and Policy”  several times at the University of Oklahoma College of Law and most recently at the University of Nebraska College of Law, has developed and teaches a course on legal issues in animal agriculture through the Dale Bumpers College of  Agricultural, Food, & Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas, and teaches a course on agriculture and the environment, also through the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, & Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas.

Senior Staff Attorney
(479) 575-2636 | C.V.

Rusty W. Rumley, B.S., J.D., LL.M.

Rusty was born and raised on a family farm in Cogar, Oklahoma. He graduated magna cum laude from Oklahoma State University in 2004 with a B.S. in AgriBusiness and in 2007 earned his juris doctor from the University of Oklahoma. While attending the University of Oklahoma he was a member of the American Indian Law Review and worked part-time for Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legal Foundation.  After law school, Rusty earned his LL.M in Agricultural Law at the University of Arkansas.  He is licensed to practice law in the states of Oklahoma and Michigan.

Rusty has published law review articles discussing the future application of special use valuation for inherited farmland, “right to farm” statutes, and the enforcement of animal cruelty statutes by private organizations. He has also written on landowner liability, agritourism, food labeling, local food production, business organizations, crop insurance, estate planning, leasing, and other land use topics in his work at the Center. Further, Rusty presents around the country to producer, consumer, extension, industry and legal groups on an array of topics.

Additionally, he has  co-taught a course titled “Animals and Agricultural Production, Law and Policy”  several times at the University of Oklahoma College of Law and most recently at the University of Nebraska College of Law and teaches an introduction to agricultural law course through the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, & Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas.  He is also an adjunct faculty member in the  University of Arkansas’ Animal  Science Department  and the Agricultural  Economics and Agribusiness Department.

His primary areas of interest are in estate planning, taxation, business organizations, landowner liability, leasing and agritourism.

Staff Attorney

Brigit Rollins, B.A., J.D.

Brigit began her life in Sonoma County, in the heart of California’s wine country. Growing up, she was surrounded by small farms, dairies, and wineries, which ultimately led to a passion for agriculture and the environment. She attended Sonoma State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies, and a minor in studio arts. While at Sonoma State, Brigit studied different types of agricultural methods and how those methods could be used to promote environmental sustainability. After graduating from Sonoma State in 2015, she started as a law student at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. While at Lewis & Clark, she worked as a student clerk for the Western Resources Legal Center, where she worked on cases assisting small ranches, farms, and municipalities. During her time at Lewis & Clark, she also interned with the California Farm Bureau Federation, and worked as a law clerk for the Sacramento-based environmental law firm Somach Simmons & Dunn. While at the California Farm Bureau, Brigit focused on Environmental Species Act issues and water law issues, as well as issues specific to California. While at Somach Simmons & Dunn, Brigit expanded her work on water law and participated in work involving federal Indian law. On campus, Brigit was on the board of Lewis & Clark’s Food & Ag Law Society and served as a student member of the ABA Public Lands Committee.  She is licensed to practice law in Oregon.

Brigit began her work at the Center as a research fellow during her second year of law school. As a research fellow, Brigit worked on a wide variety of agricultural law topics ranging from liability issues to the new frontier of lab-grown meat. In 2019, Brigit graduated from Lewis & Clark and joined the Center full-time. At the Center, her primary area of research and scholarship is environmental law as it intersects with agriculture. She maintains an interest in promoting sustainability and environmental health through agriculture and resource use.

Staff Attorney

Samantha Capaldo, B.S., M.S., J.D.

Samantha received her Juris Doctor and certificates in Food and Agricultural Law and Legislative Practice from Drake University Law School. She earned her Master of Science in Agricultural and Life Science with a concentration in Food Safety and Biosecurity and Bachelor of Science in Dairy Science from Virginia Tech. Prior to law school, Samantha worked in commercial insurance marketing at an insurance agency in Virginia.

While in law school, she worked as a legislative intern for the Iowa Senate working on issues related to fertilizer prices, veterinarian immunity, and carbon pipelines. She also worked as an intern with the USDA Office of General Counsel in the Marketing, Regulatory, and Food Safety Programs division. In the summer before her third year of law school, Samantha began working at the Center as a research fellow, primarily working on estate planning topics. After graduating law school in May of 2023, she joined the Center full-time. At the Center, her areas of research are agricultural labor and insurance. Samantha is licensed to practice law in the state of Iowa and is a licensed insurance producer in the states of Virginia and North Carolina.

Staff Attorney

Emily Stone, B.S., J.D., LL.M.

A proud native of Pike Road, Alabama, Emily has been exposed to agriculture all of her life. Through both her grandfather’s cattle operation and her father’s role as the Executive Director of the National Young Farmers Educational Association, some of her earliest memories involve the agriculture industry. Emily is a fourth-generation graduate of Auburn University’s College of Agriculture where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Communications. During her time at Auburn, she served in various student leadership roles in the College of Ag while simultaneously working for four years as an undergraduate assistant for Auburn’s softball team. Emily spent two summers during her undergraduate years working in Washington, D.C. – both as a congressional intern for Congressman Mike Rogers and as an intern for Tyson Foods’ Government Relations Team.

Emily graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2022 and earned an LL.M. in Agricultural and Food Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2023. During her years at Arkansas Law, Emily served in various roles for the Arkansas Journal of Food Law & Policy including as Staff Editor, Editor-in-Chief, and Graduate Assistant. Additionally, Emily worked for four years as a Graduate Manager with the two-time SEC Championship winning Arkansas Razorbacks softball team. While earning her J.D., Emily worked for the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, Montgomery, AL-based firm Gilpin Givhan, PC, and Tyson Foods’ Law Department. During the LL.M. program, Emily worked in the USDA’s Office of the General Counsel. Emily lives in Fayetteville with her Border Collie, Marty.

Communications & Special Projects Coordinator

Drew Viguet, B.A., M.A.

Drew was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, but grew up in Springfield, Missouri. In his early years, he was interested in writing, public speaking, music, and drama. He did journalism throughout high school, developing his passion for effective writing and communications. He served as editor-in-chief of the school’s newsmagazine his senior year.

Returning to his birth state, Drew attended college at the University of Arkansas. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, with a News/Editorial focus. He then earned a Master of Arts in Communication, also from the University of Arkansas. During his time at the university, Drew worked as a staff reporter, assistant news editor, and copy editor for The Arkansas Traveler, the student-led newspaper of the University of Arkansas. He also completed a communications internship working in the College of Education & Health Professions. While earning his master’s, Drew worked as a graduate assistant, teaching courses of Communication 1313: Public Speaking. Drew has also worked for Acorn: The Influence Company, which is based out of Rogers, Arkansas, taught as a substitute teacher, and recently worked in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas, in the Department of Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness.

At the National Agricultural Law Center, Drew works on conference publicity, webinar programming, press releases, social media, and more.

Website & Resource Editor

Ramie Parsons, B.S.

Ramie spent most of her childhood in Western Arkansas, where she graduated from Waldron High School.  While there, she participated in journalism and also worked during the summer for the Waldron News.  After attending the University of Arkansas, she earned her B.S. in Human Environmental Sciences, part of the Dale Bumpers College of  Agricultural, Food, & Life Sciences.  Her concentration was in Childhood Development from Birth to Three Years, and she put those skills to use during the several years she spent working with both typically developing and special needs children, providing care and teaching developmentally appropriate practices.  Since then, she has turned her focus to part-time website editing at the National Agricultural Law Center.  Additionally, she operates her own business as a medical billing and coding specialist for mental health professionals in private practice.

Research Fellow

Ashlyn Hoggard, A.A., B.S.

Ashlyn is a second-year law student at the University of Arkansas Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, where she expects to graduate in May 2024. She was born and raised in Batesville, AR. While in high school, Ashlyn was very active in her FFA chapter serving multiple offices. She attended many state and national competitions and conferences focused on agriculture.

After high school, Ashlyn obtained her Associate’s degree from the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville where she served as a student ambassador and Student Government Association Vice President and President, respectively. Ashlyn later completed her Bachelor’s in Political Science at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. She moved to Memphis to work as a paralegal for 2 years before moving back to Arkansas to start her law school journey.

Ashlyn is focused on a career in ag law with the hopes of being an asset to the people of Arkansas and an advocate for agriculture.

Research Fellow

Will Scobey, B.A.

Will attends the University of Arkansas School of Law, where he expects to graduate in May of 2025. He graduated magna cum laude from Arkansas State University with a degree in Economics. At the time, he was recognized as the outstanding senior graduate in the Pre-Law Economics program.

Will is a lifelong resident of Arkansas, hailing from the rural community of Corning. Here, Will gained years of agricultural experience while working on a local farm and participating in FFA. After graduation, Will hopes to continue his involvement with Arkansas’ agriculture industry and assist small-town farmers using his legal education.

Research Fellow

Jill Apter, B.BA

Jill Apter is a law student at Michigan State University College of Law, where she is expecting to graduate in 2025. Jill grew up in South Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in International Business & Trade. After years of international travel and immersive, hands-on development work that combined entity formation, compliance, and government program involvement with regenerative farming, Jill returned to the United States to pursue more formalized education in Colorado. With a desire to positively impact her community through her work, Jill pursued a Master of Nonprofit Management degree and a Project Management Certificate.

While working toward those degrees, Jill actively applied the knowledge by getting involved with local nonprofits in a multitude of capacities, including serving on various committees, doing policy and advocacy work at the local level, grant writing, and strategic planning. Inevitably, however, every project interacted with the law or the legal system in some facet. Ultimately, a desire to be a higher-level resource for her community and to get involved with projects that have a broader impact drove Jill to pursue a formal legal education.

Research Fellow

William Gaspard Jr., B.S.

William Gaspard Jr. is a student at Southern University Law Center, working towards his juris doctor degree, which he anticipates receiving in May 2025. He previously completed his undergraduate studies at Louisiana State University (LSU), earning a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Extension Education with a minor in Agricultural Communications, graduating summa cum laude in May 2022. During his time at LSU, William actively participated in various student organizations. He was recognized for his outstanding work in agricultural communications through his appearance in the LSU fall 2021 halftime commercial.

William’s strong connection to agriculture stems from his rural upbringing and extensive involvement in organizations such as FFA and 4-H. His experiences have fueled his passion for agriculture, and he aspires to merge his knowledge of farming practices and policy as a research fellow. In addition, William is known for his fearlessness and tenacity when advocating for the agricultural industry. His ultimate goal is to utilize his legal expertise to provide crucial legal counsel to farmers and ranchers, ensuring their operations’ long-term sustainability and protection for future generations.

Research Fellow

Anna Poole, B.S.B.A

Anna attends the University of Arkansas School of Law, where she expects to graduate in May 2025. She graduated from the University of Arkansas with a B.S.B.A in Management with an Organizational Leadership Concentration and a minor in Marketing. Anna is a fifth generation cattle rancher. After graduation, Anna plans to stay in her hometown to provide legal services to local farmers and ranchers. Outside of school, Anna enjoys playing with her German Shepherd, Waylon.

Research Fellow

Regan O'Donnell, B.S, B.S., A.A.

Regan is a native of Northern Colorado, where she grew up on her family’s horse operation and was active in FFA and the Appaloosa Youth Association. Regan currently attends the University of North Dakota School of Law, where she is pursuing a certificate in Energy, Environment, and Natural Resource Law and expects to graduate in May 2025. She attended Colorado State University, obtaining a B.S. in Animal Science, a B.S. in Political Science, and a minor in Legal Studies. During her time at CSU, she served as president of the Nu Chapter of Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority; as president of the College of Agricultural Sciences AgCouncil, and was a member of the Seedstock Merchandizing Team. During the fall of her first year of law school, Regan founded the Agricultural Law Association; she currently serves as president of the Agricultural Law Association, vice president of the Rural Practice Association and the Federalist Society, and secretary of the Environmental Law Society.

Regan works as a law clerk for a water firm in northern Colorado. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in water law, specifically working to protect agricultural water use as farmland continues to be lost to urban development.

Research Fellow

Donald "Jed" Satterley, B.S.

Jed is a law student at Southern University Law Center, where he is expecting to graduate in May 2026. He completed his undergraduate studies at Louisiana State University earning a B.S. in Agriculture and Extension Education. Before starting law school, he taught high school agriculture and worked for the Louisiana State Department of Agriculture in Forestry.

Jed’s dedication to agriculture stems from growing up in rural Melville, Louisiana, where his family has a history in farming and raising livestock. During high school he was extremely active in FFA, which lead to his desire to work in the agriculture industry. Upon graduating law school, he hopes to continue his work in agriculture by serving rural and small communities which are the backbone of American agriculture.

Research Fellow

Kenny Pierro, B.S.

Kenny is a second-year law student at Michigan State University College of Law, where he expects to graduate in May 2026. He graduated from Washington State University cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Biotechnology.

During his undergraduate tenure, he worked with a group of scientists on the assembly and annotation of the WA-38 apple genome. He plans to build on this experience with a career in agricultural focus intellectual property law.

Research Fellow

Meagan Vlasak, B.A.

Meagan attends Texas Tech University School of Law and anticipates graduating in 2025. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Communication/Technical Writing from Texas Tech University in 2019. Prior to law school, she was employed with a corporate employment immigration law firm in the Dallas area for three years, where she specialized in complex legal writing and research assignments for visas across numerous industries.

Since starting law school, she has developed a growing interest in agricultural law, and is driven by a curiosity to further explore the ever-progressing field.

Research Fellow

Jeremy Garcia, B.S.

Jeremy is a student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, where he expects to receive his J.D. in May 2026. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Utah Tech University in 2019.

During his first year of law school, Jeremy served as a representative for the Wellness Society and was appointed secretary for the Environmental Law Society. He was also voted “most likely to make a judge laugh” by his classmates. In his free time, he enjoys rock climbing and hiking. Prior to attending law school, he worked as a Benefits Analyst in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Research Fellow

Jakob Christopherson, B.A.

Jakob attends Wake Forest University School of Law, where he expects to graduate in May 2026. He graduated from the University of Minnesota: Twin Cities with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 2022.

His passion for agriculture stems from his upbringing on his family’s 6th generation corn and soybean farm located in Southwest Minnesota. After graduation, he hopes to work at the intersection of business and agricultural law.

Research Fellow

Aaron Draper, B.S.

Aaron is a husband and father of four who lives in the California Central Valley. He attends the San Joaquin College of Law where he expects to graduate in May 2025. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.S. in Pharmacy and is currently a practicing pharmacist. At school, he is the dean of the Delta Theta Phi professional fraternity as well as the campus Christian Legal Society.

Research Fellow

Dustin Messner, B.S.

Dustin attends the University of Oregon School of Law and expects to earn his J.D. in 2025. He holds a B.S. in Managerial Economics from U.C. Davis. Before law school, Dustin analyzed dairy policy and economics as an Agriculture Statistician for the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. Dustin spent his 1L summer as a Law Clerk with the Oregon Department of Justice; during his 2L year, he externed for a private law firm and the in-house department of an international berry propagation company.

At school, Dustin is a Managing Editor of the Oregon Law Review, a Lew and Ann Williams Business Law Fellow, and a Frohnmayer Leadership Fellow. Dustin enjoys hiking, skiing, and exploring in the mountains.

Tru Joi
Communications Specialist

Tru Joi Curtis

Tru Joi Curtis is an undergraduate student at the University of Arkansas, majoring in Agricultural Communications with a minor in English. She hopes to continue her educational journey by receiving her master’s degree and eventually a Ph.D.

Tru Joi lives on a small family farm with her mom, grandfather, and over 100 animals. She graduated in the top 5 of the class of 2022 from Westville High School with various honors. She was very active in FFA, competing at the national level in Parliamentary Procedures, receiving her Oklahoma FFA State Degree, and FFA American Degree. She had the honor of being a media room intern at the 2023 Arkansas FFA Convention and working as the Copy Editor for AR Culture magazine. Tru Joi is also serving as the Member Relations Coordinator for Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and is a member of FFA Alumni and Supporters at the University of Arkansas.