Representatives from Faulkner University, the Alabama Farmers Federation and the National Agricultural Law Center (NALC) gathered at the Jones School of Law (JSL) library June 1 to sign a memorandum of understanding establishing a three-year Alabama Ag Law Pathway.
Starting in spring 2022, first-year students in the JSL at Faulkner may apply for admission to the pathway, which provides a unique opportunity to focus on agricultural law. From applications, the partnering groups will select one student to participate in the program, beginning with a summer 2022 internship in Montgomery, Alabama, at the Federation.
“State and federal laws have an impact on our farmers, from property law and taxation to transportation and environmental regulations,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “We feel confident the student selected for this program will gain lots of experience during their internship with us, and we know their knowledge and expertise will, in turn, help our farmers.”
The selected student will then complete a remote research fellowship with the NALC, based in Fayetteville, Arkansas, during their second year in law school.
“This partnership is a win-win for all concerned, not just for the partners, but for the students and the broader agricultural industry in Alabama and beyond,” said NALC Director Harrison Pittman. “We’re very proud to be a part of this and look forward to working with our Alabama friends for many years to come.”
In fall 2023, the pathway offers an internship with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries in Montgomery, which also fulfills a field placement credit required for graduation from JSL.
“We are excited to know that a few future law students will be given some specific training on the complexity of how laws and regulations impact our rural communities,” said Alabama Agriculture & Industries Commissioner Rick Pate. “We certainly will benefit, in our role as regulators of agriculture, to have the expertise available. Agriculture is one of the more regulated industries and having attorneys trained in ag law will help us all sift through what has often become confusing laws and regulations.”
The partnering groups are also cooperating to offer an agricultural law seminar at JSL for students in the pathway, as well as other law students.
Agriculture plays an important part in Alabama’s economy, and Faulkner Law is pleased to prepare students to practice agricultural law,” said Faulkner University President Michael Williams. “This new pathway will allow our students to explore courses in agricultural law, have great research opportunities and fellowships, and complete internships with distinguished groups like Alfa, Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
The Alabama Ag Law Pathway will accept applications each spring semester to allow a continual rotation of law students in the program.