TITLE: The National Agricultural Law Center

ACCESS: http://www.nationalAgLawCenter.org

If you are researching farm commodity programs or landowner liability, international agricultural law or the National Organic Program, this is the Web site for you. The National Agricultural Law Center (NALC) is based at University of Arkansas School of Law and is funded through the National Agricultural Library of the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Its mission is to provide online research tools in the fields of agricultural and food law. The NALC's staff includes law and research professors, lawyers, research fellows, as well as other specialists in the field. The NALC's site was recently reorganized and has an attractive look. Clearly labeled links at the top of most pages ensure easy navigation. The addition of some brief instructions for searching would be helpful. There are no search tools on the site, so it is necessary to investigate the different links in order to find the hidden research gems.

The 27 new "Reading Rooms" each focus on a particular aspect of agricultural law, such as biotechnology, country of origin labeling, food safety, and pesticides. Within each "room" users will find an essay that gives an overview of the topic as well as extensive links to federal regulations, statutes, case law, government publications, research publications published by NALC, and links to other resources. Ten more rooms are under construction. NALC research publications are also cross-referenced under "Research Publications."

NALC publishes an electronic newsletter with case summaries, a "Federal Register Digest," and USDA judicial officer decisions. The newsletter is available through the Web site with archives back to 2002. Other resources include the impressive "Agricultural Law Bibliography," which is updated quarterly and is searchable using keywords. The extensive source list is up-to-date and easy to use.

Users may also access Web sites of Senate and House committees and subcommittees as well as General Accounting Office and Congressional Research Service reports through "Congressional Links." "Reference Desk" provides links to other bibliographies, glossaries, journals, associations, and online research guides, but not all of the links work.

Overall, the site is an excellent resource for a specialized field. Graduate and advanced undergraduate students and researchers in the fields of agricultural and food law should find it a valuable resource, even though the site makes its users earn its rewards. Because there are no search features on the site, with the exception of the aforementioned "Agricultural Law Bibliography," users must be willing to investigate all of the nooks and crannies by exploring all of the links. The patient researcher will be rewarded with a wealth of information.

Ann Flower
Monterey Institute of International Studies
aflower@miis.edu


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