Professor Susan Schneider, B.A., J.D., LL.M., is the Director of the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law at the University of Arkansas. She teaches agricultural and food law courses and serves as the Director of the School of Law's unique advanced degree program, the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law.
From the school’s web site, I learned “Professor Schneider's experience includes agricultural law work with firms in Arkansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Washington, D.C. She served as a staff attorney at Farmer's Legal Action Group Inc. and at the National Center for Agricultural Law Research & Information. In addition to teaching at the University of Arkansas school of Law, she has taught agricultural law and related subjects at William Mitchell College of Law in Minnesota and at the Drake University Summer Agricultural Law Institute in Iowa.”
She’s a well published prof but one of the many things that got my interest was something she wrote 3 years ago. Reconnecting Consumers and Producers: On the Path Toward a Sustainable Food and Agriculture Policy, 14 Drake J. Agric. L. 75 (2009) was important then but much more today. There is a radical disconnect between those few Americans down on the farm who are still laboring to feed us all, and those who consume it all but seem to be to easily stampeded by half truths and outrageous mistakes in the popular press.
Today, we’re looking at an alarming and mostly non-factual attack on everything agriculture from chocolate milk to lean, finely textured beef. The debate about a new farm bill is just starting to come to a boil and a frightening number of decisions will probably be based on politics and public opinion rather than science and hard data.
A stampeded public opinion or ‘poli sci’ aside, much of what will go forth will be based on the law; what’s already written and what might be hashed out in court. The very specialized field of ag law, as taught in leading schools like the University of Arkansas, will define what you can and cannot do in the future, long after the hot news of today is forgotten.
Schneider is one of the most influential people in modern ag law so a few minutes talking about it seems prudent.
Q. Susan, with a new farm bill looming on the near horizon, it makes sense to take a look at agriculture and farm law. Let’s start with the basics. The University of Arkansas School of Law web site says “The laws that apply to the production, marketing, and sale of the food we eat, the natural fibers we wear, and increasingly, the bio-fuel that runs our cars have an extraordinary impact on us all.” Would you talk about that impact and how it has changed?