INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURAL LAW & CLIMATE CHANGE

The Institute of Agricultural Law & Climate Change was formed in late 2014 as a New Mexico nonprofit corporation and started operations in calendar year 2015. It is exempt from Federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3).

Climate Change

The overwhelming body of scientific evidence shows climate change to be real. The world has grown warmer primarily as the result of carbon dioxide placed in the atmosphere by mankind. The warming trend will continue even if nations take drastic steps to reduce their CO2 emissions.

Four interrelated questions remain. The first is what mitigation strategies will the world ultimately adopt. Second, where will temperatures peak. Third, what will be the effects of global warming at various temperature scenarios. And, fourth, what adaption strategies will be adopted to attempt to deal with the effects of global warming.

Agriculture will be affected by climate change. Perhaps in some locations production will benefit from climate change in its early stages. Higher rainfall, longer growing seasons and even higher CO2 levels may increase yields or allow certain crops to be grown in areas that were previously too cold.

However, changing weather patterns caused by global warming will more commonly cause decreases in agricultural production both in the short and long term. Farming regions buffeted by decreased rainfall, extreme heat, irrigation water shortages, rising sea levels or increased weather volatility will suffer. And, as agricultural production declines, humanity and local, national and world economies will also suffer. Food shortages and high food prices will cause social, economic and political instability. Revolutions and wars will increase in frequency as billions of people compete for declining food resources.

The Response

 

The United States and other major countries continue to advance proposals to control global warming by reducing carbon emissions. Few of these proposals have been implemented to date, and those that have been adopted will not be sufficient. Whether the major CO2 emitting countries will be able to make serious changes is in doubt. Increasingly the focus of climate research is changing from prevention to adaptation. Since climate change may be slowed but cannot be reversed, the question has become what can be done to allow people and economies to adapt to that change.

Agricultural Adaptation

 

Much research has been initiated, including that promoted by the current administration, on new crop varieties and farming and irrigation techniques that might help protect yields under adverse climate conditions. More will be needed, and unfortunately some of the products of this research will ultimately be unsuccessful. However, the work must be done if we are to keep the country and the world fed while nations dither on the ultimate solution to global warming.

Research on scientific and technical issues must be accompanied by programs that transfer new technologies and encourage or require the adoption of new crop varieties and farming and irrigation techniques. Other programs will be needed to regulate the carbon emissions of agriculture itself or, alternatively, exempt agriculture from such limitations on the grounds that maintaining food production demands emergency exceptions.

Activities of Institute of Agricultural Law & Climate Change

 

Compared to the technical research described above, there is little or no comprehensive research being performed on the legal framework necessary to carry out agricultural climate change programs. The Institute of Agricultural Law & Climate Change (ALCC) will attempt to fill part of this gap.

ALCC will conduct research and analysis on existing and proposed programs that address the effects of climate change on agriculture and the laws necessary to implement such programs and will disseminate the information obtained from its research through written publications and presentations to farm organizations, academics, students, government entities, and NGOs. ALCC will also create and help teach courses on climate change law in law schools and universities.

The above activities will be performed primarily by the officers of ALCC and later, as the organization grows, by staff employees as well. Activities in 2015 will include developing and teaching a program on agricultural climate change law for the University of Arkansas Law School and conducting a panel discussion on agriculture and climate change at the annual conference of the American Agricultural Law Association.

Board of Directors

 

Executive Director, President, and Chief Researcher: Allen H. Olson, of Albany, Georgia, is an agricultural lawyer with extensive experience representing farmers and ranchers on federal farm subsidy and conservation programs and a Visiting Professor at the University of Arkansas Law School teaching courses on these subjects. He has published extensively on farm program topics.

Secretary and Assistant Researcher:  Jud A. Fischel, Warrenton, Virginia, is an experienced trial lawyer.

Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Assistant Researcher: Georgia Fischel, Warrenton, Virginia, is a successful law firm administrator and business owner with extensive experience serving on non-profit boards.

Susan A. Schneider – Director, Agricultural and Food Law Program, University of Arkansas Law School, Fayetteville, Arkansas and nationally known expert on agricultural law.

Institute of Agricultural Law & Climate Change
P.O. Box 14
Cerrillos, NM 87010