Agricultural Environmental Law
About This Class
This course is one of the foundational courses of the agriculture and food law and policy curriculum. Land used for agricultural purposes accounts for nearly 52% of the total land area of the United States--the largest category of land use by far. Given the shear mass of lands devoted to agriculture, any serious attempt to address environmental problems must include resource management on agricultural lands. However, the story of law’s treatment of agriculture from an environmental perspective is complex and, at times, one of omission. Thus, this course addresses the complex and interconnected relationship of environmental and agricultural law, its historical roots and modern developments. In particular, the course explores the following topics: 1) agriculture in historical legal context; 2) Farm Bill regulatory and incentive-based programs; 3) compliance with other environmental laws—Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, greenhouse gas regulation; 4) proliferation of genetically modified organisms in the food supply; 5) animal agriculture and linkages between treatment, production, and environmental impact; 6) the role of agricultural lands in land use planning, including the use of conservation easements and payment for ecosystem services; 7) the rise of organics, locavore, and sustainable food movements; and 8) renewables: how sustainable is biomass as part of US energy solutions? Finally, the course explores how we might make agriculture more sustainable given global population growth and the impacts of climate change. Method of evaluation: Final paper; (AWR: Yes).