The National Agricultural Law Center (NALC) serves as the nation`s leading source of agricultural and food law research and information. The National Agricultural Law Center is the only agricultural law research and information facility that is independent, national in scope, and directly connected to the national agricultural information network. As a result of the expanding scope of agricultural law and its convergence with related areas, the Center also includes food law in the scope of its coverage. In 1987, Congress called for the creation of the National Center for Agricultural Law Research and Information. Since then, the National Agricultural Law Center has received funding from federal appropriations through the National Agricultural Library, an entity within the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
What Is 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 Practice. eXtension (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:
24/7/365 access to information to help people make life-improving decisions;
Educational products and programs at any time, from any place, in any format on any Internet-ready device;
National shared strength with local customized focus;
Dynamic, evolving content;
Complementary resources to the community-based Cooperative Extension System;
Increased visibility to Cooperative Extension by reaching new audiences and expanding partnership opportunities;
Collaborative development of Internet-based educational materials with minimal duplication; and
Sustained connections between Communities of Practice and Communities of Interest.
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:
Environmental & Natural Resources;
Business Organizations & Taxation;
Estate Planning & Farm Succession;
Renewable Energy; and
Alternative Dispute Resolution
TheEnvironmental & Natural Resources Sub-Groupfocuses 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. TheBusiness Organizations & Taxation Sub-Groupaddresses issues such as business formation, business organization options, legal liability, and tax issues that are of special concern for agricultural businesses.
TheEstate Planning & Farm Succession Sub-Groupprovides information on estate planning options and impacts and resources for farm succession planning. TheAgricultural Labor Sub-Groupprovides information on the many federal laws and regulations that affect agricultural workers and employers.
TheAgricultural Diversification Sub-Groupoffers information and resources on the National Organic Program, sustainability, agritourism, specialty crops, community supported agriculture, farmers’ markets and roadside stands. TheRenewable Energy Sub-Groupfocuses 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. TheAlternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Sub-Groupdetails 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,
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.
Research by Topic
Welcome to the National AgLaw Center’s library of subject-based “Reading Rooms.” Each reading room contains a comprehensive list of current electronic resources for an agricultural or food law topic. Links are provided to major statutes, regulations, case law, Center-published research articles, government publications, Congressional publications, and numerous other research resources. Also contained in each room is an overview article that provides a thumbnail sketch of the history and development of that subject. Links to the other rooms are provided on the left side of each reading room. Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections. Periodic browsing of our Reading Rooms is suggested, as resources are frequently added and/or updated, and work on the construction of new rooms is ongoing.