Food and Agriculture
Resources and Updates
This page is under construction. Check back soon for updated information.
Documents & Links
The resources for this chapter are divided into four categories, mirroring the subsections published, Organic Production, The Local Food Movement, Food for the Future, and Climate Change: Food & Agriculture. Each begins with the most recent resources, followed by resources referenced in Food, Farming, & Sustainability.
Fraud within the organic supply chain
Dramatic growth in consumer demand for organic products, inadequate domestic supply, and the global marketplace combine to reveal a complex supply chain for the organic products used in manufacturing and sold in retail markets. The enhanced price for organic products provides additional incentives for fraud. The result disadvantages producers who legitimately participate in the organic certification program and challenges the integrity of organic labeling.
Linked below is a multi-part series of articles from the Washington Post that began with an investigative report finding fraud in organic grain shipments.
Peter Whoriskey, The Labels Said 'Organic.' But Massive Imports of Corn and Soybeans Weren't, Wash. Post (May 12, 2017)
Peter Whoriskey, Millions of Pounds of Apparently Fake 'Organic' Grains Convince the Food Industry There May Be a Problem, Wash. Post (June 12, 2017)
Peter Whoriskey, ‘Uncertainty and Dysfunction’ Have Overtaken USDA Program for Organic Foods, Key Lawmaker Says, Wash. Post (July 13, 2017)
Peter Whoriskey, Bogus ‘Organic’ Foods Reach the U.S. Because of Lax Enforcement at Ports, Inspectors Say, Wash. Post (Sept. 18, 2017)
Here is a link to a USDA OIG report that is referenced in the September Washington Post article:
Anne Ross, Policy Analyst at Cornucopia published the following white paper on organic fraud in the grain industry:
Note that domestic fraud can also be a problem:
Three Farmers Plead Guilty in Organic Grain Fraud Scheme, Des Moines Register (Oct. 18, 2018)
Missouri Farmer Charged in $140 million Organic Grain Fraud Scheme, Associated Press (Dec. 2018)
Missouri Charmer Led Double Life, Masterminded One of the Biggest Frauds in Farm History, Kansas City Star (Jan. 2020)
In response to the 2018 fraud cases, Congress called for more government enforcement:
USDA Officials Said They Were Guarding Against Organic Food Fraud. Congress Decided They Need Help, Wash. Post (Dec. 20, 2018).
The USDA has stepped up enforcement activities; see Organic Enforcement.
General Organic Resources
Catherine Greene, Gustavo Ferreira, Andrea Carlson, Bryce Cooke, and Claudia Hitaj, Growing Organic Demand Provides High-Value Opportunities for Many Types of Producers, USDA, Amber Waves (Feb. 6, 2017).
State of the Organic Industry Fact Sheet, U.S. Organic Industry Survey 2015, Organic Trade Association.
USDA Announces Growth of U.S. Organic Industry and Additional USDA Support Available with New Farm Bill, USDA NEWS RELEASE, USDA website.
Despite Profit Potential, Organic Field Crop Acreage Remains Low, USDA, Amber Waves article by William McBride and Catherine Greene (Nov. 2, 2015) based on the following ERS reports:
The Profit Potential of Certified Organic Field Crop Production, by William McBride, Catherine Greene, Linda Foreman, and Mir Ali, USDA, Economic Research Service, July 2015;
Price Premiums Behind Organic Field Crop Profitability, by William McBride and Curtia Taylor, USDA, Economic Research Service (Sept. 2015).
In addition to the cases cited in Food, Farming, & Sustainability, 667-676, other district courts have recently weighed the difficult preemption issues between the federal organic standards and state consumer protection laws. For example:
Marentette v. Abbott Labs., No. 15-2837 (E.D.N.Y., order entered August 23, 2016) (order dismissing the state law claims as preempted by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OPFA). This case involved Similac® Advance® organic infant formula, a product that contains ingredients impermissible under the National Organic Standards listing, but nevertheless was certified as organic by an accredited organic certifier. Citing In re Aurora Dairy Corp. Organic Milk Mktg & Sales Practices Litig., 621 F.3d 781 (8th Cir. 2010), the court held that state challenges to the certification of a product itself are preempted, but “state law challenges to the facts underlying certification” are not. The court notes conflicting interpretations of OFPA preemption by other district courts.
USDA, NASS, Direct Farm Sales of Food, ACH-35 (Dec. 2016) (summarizing the results from the 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey).
Nigel Key, Local Foods and Farm Business Survival and Growth, USDA, Amber Waves (Mar. 7, 2016).
Sarah A. Low, Aaron Adalja, Elizabeth Beaulieu, Nigel Key, Stephen Martinez, Alex Melton, Agnes Perez, Katherine Ralston, Hayden Stewart, Shellye Suttles, Stephen Vogel, and Becca B.R. Jablonski, Trends in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems: A Report to Congress, USDA ERS, Admin. Pub. No. AP-068 (Jan. 2015).
Food for the Future
Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Matthew P. Rabbitt, Christian A. Gregory, and Anita Singh, Household Food Security in the United States in 2016, USDA ERS, Rep. No. ERR-237 (Sept. 2017).
Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Matthew P. Rabbitt, Christian A. Gregory, and Anita Singh, Statistical Supplement to Household Food Security in the United States in 2016, USDA, ERS, AP-077) (Sept. 2017).
Alisha Coleman-Jensen and Michael Smith, What Is Very Low Food Security and Who Experiences It, USDA, Amber Waves (Dec. 27, 2016) (based on Food Security in the U.S., by Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Christian Gregory, and Matthew Rabbitt, USDA, ERS, (published Feb. 2017, forthcoming release).
Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Matthew Rabbitt, Christian Gregory, and Anita Singh, Household Food Security in the United States in 2015, USDA ERS, Rep. No. ERR-215 (Sept. 2016).
Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Matthew Rabbitt, Christian Gregory, and Anita Singh, Household Food Security in the United States in 2014, USDA ERS, Rep. No. ERR-194 (Sept. 2015).
Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Christian Gregory, and Anita Singh, Household Food Security in the United States, 2013, USDA ERS, Rep. No. ERR-173 (Sept. 2014).
Additional research and reports on food insecurity, USDA ERS website.
Cheryl D. Fryar, Margaret D. Carroll, and Cynthia L. Ogden, Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Extreme Obesity Among Adults: United States, 1960-1962 Through 2011–2012, National Center for Health Statistics, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (September 2014).
Nation, Institute of Medicine (May 8, 2012).
Documentary, WEIGHT OF THE NATION, a presentation of HBO and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser
Permanente (May 2012).
Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, Advisory Report to the Secretary of health and Human Services and the Secretary of Agriculture (Feb. 2015).
Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development devoted its second full issue, Volume 1, Issue 2 / Fall 2010 to “urban and peri-urban agriculture.”
USDA Former Deputy Secretary Kathleen A. Merrigan, Memorandum: Urban Agriculture And Gardening: Supporting Farm Viability, Building Access To Nutritious, Affordable Food And Encouraging Rural-Urban Linkages (Oct. 4, 2011).
Climate Change: Food & Agriculture
Information on Climate Change and Agriculture is provided in the Legal Resources, Agriculture & the Environment webpage, Climate Change link.
Food Waste is a problem that links food security issues and environmental problems including a major contribution to the production of greenhouse gases linked to climate change. For resources related to food waste and efforts to promote food conservation, visit the Food Recovery Project website at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Professor Nicole Civita serves as Director of the Project and has written extensively on the law related to food conservation. See, e.g., Food Recovery: A Legal Guide. Professor Civita teaches Food Justice and Urban Agriculture in the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law.
General Legal Resources
U.S. Code (statutes)
Agricultural Law Resources
USDA, ERS Local Foods
USDA New Farmers Website
USDA ERS Food Security
USDA ERS Obesity
Food Law & Policy Clinic, Harvard Law School
Resnick Program for Food Law & Policy, UCLA Law
Growing Power is a national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities.
California attorney Lauren Manning, migrated to Arkansas to attend the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law. After graduation, she stayed in NW Arkansas as a partner in Ozark Pasture Beef. Lauren teaches Agricultural Cooperatives & Local Food Systems in the LL.M. Program and also teaches law courses in the University of Arkansas Bumpers College of Agriculture.
A Place at the Table is a 2012 documentary that attempts to show the serious economic, social and cultural implications of hunger and how to solve it .
2015 Obesity Prevalence
No state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%.
In 6 states (California, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, and Utah) and the District of Columbia, obesity ranged from 20% to less than 25%.
19 states and Puerto Rico had a prevalence of obesity between 25% and less than 30%.
Obesity prevalence in 21 states and Guam was 30% to less than 35%.
Four states (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia) had an obesity prevalence of 35% or greater.
The South had the highest prevalence of obesity (31.2%), followed by the Midwest (30.7%), the Northeast (26.4%), and the West (25.2%).
Source: CDC Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps
2010 - present
2010 - present
Professor Nicole Civita teaches the Urban Agricultural Law & Policy class and the Food Justice class in the LL.M. Program. Nicole also teaches at Sterling College in Vermont, at John Hopkins University in Maryland, and practices with Handel Food Law in New York.