Newly named research center reflects ag and energy law sectors


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Through its Agricultural Law Resource & Reference Center, Penn State Law has conducted extensive outreach activities in agricultural law for nearly two decades.

To more accurately reflect the focus of this work and the interconnected nature of agricultural law and shale gas development, the center’s name has been changed to the Center for Agricultural and Shale Law.

The mission of the research center, to conduct and disseminate research on current and emerging legal issues of interest to agricultural and rural communities, remains the same.

Through a variety of programs, the center seeks to serve a wide variety of stakeholders, including agricultural producers, landowners and royalty owners, business professionals, judges, attorneys, legislators, government officials, community groups and the general public.

“Our new name is simply a reflection of our work in this area and the inescapable overlap between agricultural law and issues associated with shale development resulting from the location of shale deposits,” said Ross Pifer, clinical professor at Penn State Law and director of the Center for Agricultural and Shale Law.

Prime location

Located on Penn State’s University Park campus in State College, Pennsylvania, the center sits atop the Marcellus Shale Formation, the largest source of natural gas yet to be discovered in the United States.

An electronic newsletter, as well as webinars and podcasts, are planned to keep stakeholders abreast of developments in agricultural and shale law.

The center will also work closely with the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences and other University units to develop further outreach programs and educational programming.

Much of the center’s work will be based on its membership in the Agricultural and Food Law Consortium, a national partnership supported by a $750,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and established to study how food and agriculture laws affect land- and sea-based food, fiber, and energy production.

The consortium, which launched in fall 2014, seeks to expand the reach of objective agricultural and food law research and information to the nation’s agricultural community of producers, state and federal policymakers, attorneys, Cooperative Extension Service professionals, and others at the state, regional, and national levels.

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