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Scholars attend international agricultural law workshop

October 4, 2007

CONTACT: Neil Hamilton, 515-271-2065,;

Tory Olson, 515-271-1834,

The Drake University Law School's Agricultural Law Center is hosting a two-day workshop, "The Role of Law in Promoting Sustainable Farming and Rural Development: An International Perspective." The workshop is made possible by a grant from Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, and is taking place at Drake's Neal and Bea Smith Law Center, 2400 University Ave., on Oct. 15-16.

Scholars from ten countries around the world including the United Kingdom, Argentina, Canada, India, China, Germany, Ethiopia, France, Italy and Japan, will discuss perspectives on sustainable farming and rural development. Topics to be addressed include: biofuels, agri-tourism, farmer cooperatives, sustainable crops, renewable energy and food heritage. Speakers from Iowa, Arkansas, Nebraska and Washington, D.C., will deliver perspectives on rural development in the United States.

"I am very excited to bring these agricultural law professors and experts from around the world to Des Moines," said Neil Hamilton, director of the center and organizer of the workshop. "The topics we will discuss -- how law promotes sustainable farming and rural development -- are critically important in the legal systems of every nation. It is a pleasure to bring to Drake many of the colleagues I have had the good fortune to visit in my teaching and travels over the last 25 years."

The workshop is being held as part of the center’s 25th anniversary celebration and will include an evening reception at 5:15 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15, at the "Rural Land All Iowa Art Show," featuring works by 25 Iowa artists. Following the reception, a banquet is scheduled to honor the memory of Louis Lorvellec, a former visiting professor who taught at Drake as part of an exchange program with the University of Nantes. Lorvellec's widow, Soizic, will attend the banquet which will begin at 7 p.m. in Levitt Hall in Old Main, 2507 University Ave.

Speakers will include:

• Michael Cardwell, professor, University of Leeds, U.K.

• Luc Bodiguel, researcher, University of Nantes, France

• Domenico Viti, professor, University of Foggia, Italy

• Juan Jose Fernández-Bussy, professor, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Rosario, Argentina

• Harrison Pittman, director, National Center for Agricultural Law Research and Information, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.

• Susan Schneider, director of agricultural law program, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.

• Paul Pommerlau, general council, Nutrinor Cooperative, Lac St.-Jean, Quebec, Canada

• Bhargavi Motukuri, policy coordinator, International Network of Bamboo and Rattan, New Delhi, India

• Chris Rodgers, professor, Centre for Rural Economy, University of Newscastle on Tyne, U.K.

• Anthony Schutz, professor, University of Nebraska College of Law, Lincoln

• Yang Xiang, associate professor of law, Chongqing Jiaotong University, Chongqing, China

• Marc Cohen, research fellow, Development Strategy and Governance Division, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, D.C.

• Erimar G. Von Der Osten, staff attorney, National Center for Agricultural Law Research, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark., board member, German agricultural and forestry association

• John Baker, administrator, Beginning Farmer Center, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

• Eyob Tekalign Tolina, head of economy and business, Embassy of Ethiopia;

• Domenico Viti, professor from University of Foggia, Italy

• Shunsuke Yanagimura, professor of farm business management, Miyagi University, Japan

• Neil D. Hamilton, director of the Agricultural Law Center, Drake University Law School, Des Moines, Iowa

• Matt Russell, coordinator, state food policy project, Drake University Agricultural Law Center, president, Iowa Network for Community Agriculture

Co-sponsors for the workshop include:

• International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, D.C.

• Centre for Rural Economy, University of Newcastle on Tyne, U.K.

• Beginning Farmer Center, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

• National Center for Agricultural Law Research and Information, Fayetteville, Ark.

• Graduate program in Agricultural Law, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.

The cost is $100 and registration is due by Friday, Oct. 12. For more information, a complete schedule of events or to register, visit the center's Web site. The workshop is approved for five hours of CLE credit.