The Farm Bill as a Tool for Systems Change

The Farm Bill as a Tool for Systems Change

Time: Friday, 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM


Moderator: Lee Miller, Director, Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic; Assistant Clinical Professor, Harvard Law School


Josh Galperin, Research Scholar and Lecturer, Yale Law School; Director, Yale Environmental Protection Clinic


Margot Pollans, Faculty Director, Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative

Lee Miller, Director, Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic; Assistant Clinical Professor, Harvard Law School


Key Words: Farm bill, agricultural law and policy


By October 2017 the farm bill reauthorization process will be in full swing. One of the primary hurdles to effective farm bill reform is the length, complexity, and specialization of the legislation itself; the result is that the farm bill is traditionally written in silos by a handful of trade associations and entrenched special interests. Few academic programs or nonprofit organizations have the capacity to undertake a comprehensive review of the current bill, understand its history and evolution, and craft values-driven policy proposals across the full scope of the farm bill.

The Farm Bill Law Enterprise (FBLE) helps fill that void. Our mission is to work toward a farm bill that reflects a thoughtful consideration of the long-term needs of our society, including economic opportunity and stability, public health and nutrition, natural resources stewardship, and fair access and equal protection. We accomplish this mission through joint research, analysis, and advocacy and by drawing on the experience of our members, collaboratively building deeper knowledge, and equipping the next generation of legal practitioners to engage with the farm bill.

Panelists will present select policy recommendations from FBLE’s signature reports, to be published in September 2017. Prof. Josh Galperin (Director, Yale Environmental Protection Clinic) will present on Sustaining Rural Livelihoods and Diversified Agricultural Economies, including policy to address persistent racial inequities. Emilie Aguirre (representing UCLA Resnick Program on Food Law and Policy) will present on Equity, Nutrition and Public Health, including efforts to preserve the nation’s food safety net. Prof. Laurie Ristino (Director, Vermont Law School Center for Agriculture and Food Systems) and Prof. Margot Pollans (Director, Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative) will present on Productivity and Risk Management, including reforms to major farm programs. A discussion moderated by Lee Miller, including audience questions, will follow.