A Concise History of the Iowa Agricultural Law Center: 1953-1973
25 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2019
Date Written: April 3, 2019
This paper was prepared for inclusion in a festschrift honoring Professor Neil Hamilton on his pending retirement from Drake Law School. It tells the story of an interdisciplinary research organization that has not existed for almost fifty years. At the height of its prominence, however, the Iowa Agricultural Law Center (ALC) was widely acknowledged to be among the best in the world at regularly producing high quality legal-economic research on a wide range of agricultural law topics. During its 20-year life, 1953 to 1973, the ALC operated as a joint endeavor among the College of Law, University of Iowa, the Iowa State University’s Division of Agriculture, and the Production Economics Research Branch of the U.S.D.A. A senior U.S.D.A Resource Economist was stationed full-time at the ALC to collaborate with faculty members and student researchers from Iowa and Iowa State in work covering high-profile agricultural law issues.
Projects undertaken by the Center included the evaluating the effectiveness of different types of farm land ownership, alternative agricultural business organizations, family farm corporations, planning intergeneration transmission of farm land, creating effective farm leases, farm credit arrangements, water rights, rural zoning, and vertical integration contracts. For ten years, the Center also operated a major land reform project in Peru under the auspices of U.S.A.I.D. An internal disagreement over control of the Center’s agenda caused a change in leadership midway through the life of the Center, but it remained highly productive until it had to close in 1973 when two key research leaders left the Center and could not be replaced.
Keywords: History, Agricultural Law, Contract Farming, Centers and Institutes, Water Resources Law, Farm Estate Planning, Farm Leases, Law School Research, Legal-Economic Research
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