The Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy have introduced their third annual policy workshop webinar series: Frontiers in Food and Agriculture.

In response to the growing interest in food and agriculture policy, both globally and locally, the series, co-sponsored by the Yale Sustainable Food Project and the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School, is investigating four broad themes.

Part I explored linkages between theory and practice in food justice; Part II looked at a legal framework for the new food movement; Part III examined GMOs and intellectual property, and Part IV considers the farm bill and the future of farming.

Read about more about the webinars below and at the Center’s website.


The Farm Bill and the Environment: Missed Opportunities and Where to Next

Wednesday, March 26 | 11:00 AM EDT

Craig Cox, Senior Vice President | Environmental Working Group

Registration: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/438700079

Craig Cox, senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group, launches Part IV of the series Wednesday, March 26, with a presentation titled “The Farm Bill and the Environment: Missed Opportunities and Where to Next.”

Agricultural land occupies over 50 percent of the US landscape, and it’s unsurprising that the way crops are grown and livestock raised have profound effects on the environment. Yet agriculture is largely exempted, either by statute or rule, from provision of the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. As a result, the farm bill has emerged as the primary federal law that attempts to address farming’s effects on soil, water and wildlife. The provisions of the farm bill, reauthorized every five years, authorize the most important federal programs designed to help landowners farm in more environmentally friendly ways. As important, the way taxpayers subsidize farming affects whether the choices made by landowners are good or bad for the environment.

Mr. Cox will review the environmental implications of the new 2014 Farm Bill and explore the limitations of the farm bill as a tool to harmonize agriculture and the environment. His presentation will be followed by a Q+A with the audience.

Craig Cox is the senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group. Craig has devoted his working life to conservation since joining the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in 1977 as a field biologist. In 1989 Craig moved to Washington D.C to accept a position as Senior Staff Officer with the Board on Agriculture of the National Academy of Sciences, where he completed three major studies, including Soil and Water Quality: An Agenda for Agriculture. In 1994, he joined the staff of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to lead the development of the conservation title of the farm bill that was passed in March 1996. Craig then joined the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service as a Special Assistant to the Chief and served briefly as Acting Deputy Under-Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment in the Department of Agriculture before moving to Iowa in 1998 to become Executive Director of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. In August 2008 he joined the Environmental Working Group (EWG). He leads the organization’s research and advocacy work in agriculture, renewable energy, and climate change and directs EWG’s Midwest office in Ames, Iowa. He has degrees in Wildlife Ecology and Agricultural Economics from the University of Minnesota and is an avid fly fisherman, hunter and hiker.

The 2014 Farm Bill: A Fair Shake for Sustainable Farmers and Farming Systems?

Thursday, April 3 | 12:00 PM EDT

Martha Noble | American Bar Association

Registration: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/417819199

Martha Noble continues Part IV of the series Thursday, April 3, with a presentation titled “The 2014 Farm Bill: A Fair Shake for Sustainable Farmers and Farming Systems?”

The federal farm bill includes numerous policies that determine which farmers and farming systems have access to federal resources for agricultural land and production. The farm bill also affects farmers’ access to agricultural processing and marketing channels, as well as regulation of food labels and other signals to consumers about where and how their food is produced.

Ms. Noble will discuss how these issues played out in the debates and final outcome of the 2014 Farm Bill. She will review the fate of the proposed King Amendment that would have limited state regulation of agriculture; ongoing efforts to undo protections for individual farmers and ranchers in the relationships with meat and poultry processing companies; and other issues that determine whether sustainable farming and food systems have a level playing field in the farm bill.

Her presentation will be followed by a Q+A with the audience.

Martha Noble holds a law degree from the School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. She has numerous publications and over twenty-six years of experience working on agricultural law and policy issues. She was a research professor and staff attorney with National Center for Agricultural Law at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, teaching in both the Masters in Agricultural Law and J.D. programs.  Subsequently, until last year, she was as a Senior Policy Associate with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in Washington, D.C. She also served on the U.S. EPA’s Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee in two administrations.

Martha is currently a vice-chair of the Agricultural Management Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, editing the Committee’s yearly contribution to the Section’s Year-In-Review. She is also an active member of the American Agricultural Law Association.


How the New Farm Bill Impacts Sustainable Food and Farming Systems

Wednesday, April 16 | 12:00 PM EDT

Ariane Lotti, Assistant Policy Director | National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Registration: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/576821455

Ariane Lotti, assistant policy director at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, continues Part IV of the series Wednesday, April 16, with a presentation titled “How the New Farm Bill Impacts Sustainable Food and Farming Systems.”

After over two years of debate, delay, and dysfunction, Congress recently passed the 2014 Farm Bill. The bill includes unprecedented investments in local food systems, organic agriculture, and beginning farmers but fails to reform the underlying farm subsidy system that shapes much of agricultural production.

Ms. Lotti will review the provisions and policies of the 2014 Farm Bill that underpin the growth of alternative food systems, as well as the opportunities for reforming the current subsidy system in the years ahead. Her presentation will be followed by a Q+A with the audience.


Ariane Lotti is the assistant policy director at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. She holds a B.A. and a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University and has served as the policy director for the Organic Farming Research Foundation, and policy associate for OFRF and NSAC. She is a published author, and has worked on and conducted research on organic and conventional farms in the US and Europe. Ariane coordinates NSAC’s policy campaigns, serves as a liaison between the grassroots and policy staff, and staffs several program areas, including organic and food safety issues. She serves on USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics.

Sarah Carlson, Midwest cover crop research coordinator for the Practical Farmers of Iowa, will conclude the Frontiers in Food and Agriculture webinar series with a presentation on Tuesday, April 22. Registration details are forthcoming.


Archived recordings and written recaps of past webinars are available on the Center’s website.

For more information on these and other upcoming events, please contact Susanne Stahl at susanne.stahl@yale.edu.

Yale Webinar Series Explores Frontiers in Agriculture
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