Website Guide and Sitemap
As the nation’s leading source for agricultural and food law research and information, the National Agricultural Law Center serves the nation’s vast agricultural community, including attorneys, farmers, academics, consumers, extension personnel, and policymakers, among others. The Center’s website is the primary means by which the Center’s mission and the nation’s agricultural community are served. The website is a clearinghouse for legal information that spans nearly four dozen agricultural and food law topics both in the United States and around the world. As such, this website incorporates unique components that cannot be found elsewhere and provides an invaluable resource to those needing information on legal issues surrounding food and agriculture. The purpose of this guide is to describe the website in order to help users make the best use of this great resource.
It is important to note that the Center is a nonpartisan entity and takes no position on the views expressed in any articles or writings published on the website. All such articles and writings are included for their legal or practical discussions of agricultural law topics rather than any particular viewpoint of the author. Furthermore, while every effort is made to supply accurate and up-to-date information, the website is not meant as a source of legal advice, nor is it a substitute for a competent legal professional.
To make the vast store of information provided by this website more user-friendly, the site is divided into sections to help focus the researcher on a particular task at hand. Following is a sectional breakdown of the website with a brief overview of the contents of each section:
About the Center
This section provides a description of the National Agricultural Law Center, its mission, its history, and its affiliations. Also included are contact information for the Center, biographical and contact information for Center staff, multi-lingual translations of the Center’s brochure, and links to the Center’s bi-monthly e-Newsletter and the Agricultural and Food Law Blog.
One of the most important services provided by the National Agricultural Law Center is the construction and maintenance of its Reading Rooms. A Reading Room is a compilation of electronic resources that provides readers with an excellent place to begin researching a particular area of agricultural law. At the beginning of each Reading Room is a general overview to familiarize the reader with the topic, followed by a listing of all major federal statutes affecting the area, links to any federal regulations on point, and a case law index of citations to recent common-law authority. Secondary sources relevant to the room, including Center research publications, Congressional Research Service reports, governmental and non-governmental reference resources, and publications are included in each Reading Room. For example, the Agritourism Reading Room defines the term “agritourism” and briefly outlines some potential legal issues inherent in the topic, lists the relevant state and federal statutes that affect this area of the law, provides a case law index of precedential cases, and supplies links to various publications from the federal government, state governments, interested organizations, and experts in the field.
This section contains articles researched and written by the Center’s staff, leading agricultural and food law scholars, and qualified practicing attorneys throughout the country and the world. The publications are grouped by topic and listed in alphabetical order. As a nonpartisan entity, the Center does not advocate for or against any particular viewpoint. While many articles may espouse a writer’s position on an issue, the Center publishes the articles for the background and legal analysis on the subject. As such, the publications are provided to assist researchers in understanding the complex web of agricultural and food law issues that confront all components of the agricultural sector.
The AgLaw Reporter
This section includes all issues (from 1983 to present) of the Agricultural Law Update, the professional newsletter of the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA). Newsletters contain articles on a variety of agricultural topics ranging from conservation programs to taxation issues and cover recent cases and laws that affect agricultural producers and the attorneys who represent them.
Also included in the AgLaw Reporter are Judicial Officer Decisions on cases heard by those delegated authority by the Secretary of Agriculture to act as the final deciding officer in USDA adjudicatory proceedings are also contained on this page.
Case Law Indexes compiled and written by Center staff and the ever-expanding State Law Clearinghouse are also included in the AgLaw Reporter. The case law indexes provide the reader with a clearer picture of the common law surrounding agricultural issues throughout the country and around the world. The State Law Clearinghouse provides readers with access to state statutes and administrative codes that regulate agricultural issues. Many issues pertaining to agriculture are administered on the state or local level, and this resource is geared towards providing the statutory language of state laws and regulations that affect agriculture.
Another important service provided by the National Agricultural Law Center, and one of the most popular, is the complete collection of digitized farm bills from the original in 1933 to the most recently enacted 2008 version. Legislative history of each of the farm bills, research articles, and links to outside sources concerning the farm bills are included in this section. The depth and breadth of material provided in this area of the website surpasses anything else currently available, making it one of the most complete reference collections anywhere for United States Farm Bills.
Agriculture and food law contains thousands of words, definitions, and acronyms not commonly understood by laypersons or many attorneys. To remedy that problem Chuck Culver, Director for Development for the Division of Agriculture at the University of Arkansas, has compiled this extensive list of legal and non-legal definitions of terms and acronyms used in the food and agricultural fields.
Agricultural Law Bibliography
Professor Drew Kershen, Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, created a bibliography on agricultural law that spans over 50 years of law journals, law reviews, and legal periodicals that publish articles, comments, notes, and developments that comprise the body of published research in agricultural and food law. This bibliography is updated quarterly, and the entire compilation is included on this page. Center staff are currently contacting authors and publications listed in the bibliography in an effort to provide digitized copies of as many of the listed articles as possible. Some digitized articles are already available and many more are to come.
Congressional Research Service Reports
This exclusive service provided by the National Agricultural Law Center enables readers to browse an extensive list of CRS reports on a variety of agricultural topics. The CRS reports are a non-partisan objective analysis of a question posed by a congressman or woman and commonly range in length from 5 to around 30 pages. The reports are grouped according to topic and subtopic and are posted for use on this site. New reports are added as they become available.
This section introduces eXtension, an Internet-based educational partnership of the seventy-four 1862 and 1890 institutions of the land-grant university system. The Center has taken the lead in the development of the Agricultural Law Community of Practice, a network of over 40 individual attorneys and researchers from approximately 20 states aross the nation who are working together to develop resources such as fact sheets, articles, interactive lessons, webinars and frequently asked questions.
This section contains the links to many different organizations that have some focus on agriculture or agricultural law. Links on this page include government websites, universities, law reviews and journals, associations, practice groups, libraries, and publications.
The State Law Clearinghouse provides readers with access to state statutes and administrative codes that regulate agricultural issues. Many issues pertaining to agriculture are administered on the state or local level, and this resource is geared towards providing the statutory language of state laws and regulations that affect agriculture.
Case Law Indexes
State Law Clearinghouse
AALA’s Agricultural Law Update Archives
USDA Judicial Officer Decisions
Congressional Research Service Reports
Glossary of Agricultural Production, Programs, and Policy
Alternative Dispute Resolution
International Agricultural Law & Organizations
International Agricultural Trade
Perishable Agricultural Commodities
Associations and Practice Groups
Research Guides and Links
General Agricultural Resources:
Libraries and Information Resources