UACES Facebook Gov. Hutchinson to be keynote at national ag law/tech conference in Little Rock
skip to main content

Gov. Hutchinson to be keynote at national ag law/tech conference in Little Rock

July 11, 2018

By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts:

  • Conference on ag law and emerging technologies set for Aug. 15-16
  • Conference to be held at LR’s Statehouse Convention Center
  • Designed for lawyers, policymakers, industry professional, students
Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

(574 words)

Download Word version

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Gov. Asa Hutchinson will be the keynote speaker for the agricultural law and technology conference Aug. 15-16 that’s co-sponsored by the National Agricultural Law Center, National Association of Attorneys General and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.  

 “Ag Technology and the Law: Advancing American Agriculture,” is being held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Among the agenda topics: Gene editing, blockchain, global theft of U.S. technology, and hot topics in pesticide litigation and regulation.

“With his emphasis on coding in education and his initiative on blockchain use in our food supply, Gov. Hutchinson will bring a real world perspective on technology to the conference,” said Harrison Pittman, director of the National Agricultural Law Center, part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “We’re honored to have the governor as part of this national platform, highlighting the importance of ag tech to agriculture in Arkansas and the nation.” 

The conference offers 12 hours of continuing legal education, including 2 hours of ethics, for attorneys.

“When I became co-chair of NAAG’s Agriculture Committee three years ago, I envisioned Arkansas hosting a first-rate legal education program for state Attorneys General staff, state regulatory staff and others focused on agricultural law,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “This partnership between NAAG and the National Agricultural Law Center is the perfect vehicle to bring legal experts together to provide unparalleled educational opportunities for the legal community, not just in Arkansas, but across the country.”  

More information and online registration, can be found online:

The agenda:

8:00 – 8:15 — Welcome from Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
8:15 – 9:15 —  Ag Tech & the Law: Landscape & Emerging Issues

National Ag Law conference set for Aug. 15-16  in Little Rock.
  • Todd Janzen, Janzen Ag Law

9:15 – 10:30 – Issues for States’ Attorney General

  • Hon. Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas Attorney General
  • Hon. Curtis Hill, Indiana Attorney General
  • Hon. Doug Peterson, Nebraska Attorney General
  • Wes Ward, Secretary, Arkansas Department of Agriculture
  • Moderated by Harrison Pittman, Director, National Agricultural Law Center

10:30 – 10:45 – Break

10:45– 11:45 All Data Big & Small:  Legal Issues Surrounding Agricultural Data

  • Dr. Shannon Ferrell, Oklahoma State University

11:45 – 1:30 Lunch

1:30 – 2:45 Ag Tech Pitfalls and Barriers:  Industry Perspectives

  • Chris Fink, Founder & COO, Unmanned Vehicle Technologies
  • John Dombrosky, CEO, AgTech Accelerator
  • Todd L. Martin, CEO, Independent Professional Seed Association

2:45 – 3:00 Break

3:00 – 4:00 Genetic Editing of Crops and Animals:  State & Federal Regulation

  • Thomas P. Redick, Global Environmental Ethics Counsel, LLC
  • Eric Williams, Partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP
  • Moderated by Andrew Varcoe, Partner, Boyden Gray and Associates

4:00 – 5:00 – Legal Ethics and Class Actions

  • Drew Kershen, Professor Emeritus, Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law Emeritus, The University of Oklahoma College of Law 

Thursday, August 16

8:15 – 9:15  Global Theft of U.S. Ag Technology

  • Jennie Nichols, Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation

9:15 – 10:15  Hot Topics in Pesticide Litigation & Regulation

  • Karen Ellis Carr, Partner, Arent & Fox, Washington, D.C.

10:15 – 10:30 Break

10:30 – 11:30 Legal Ethics Considerations in the Ag Tech World

  • Mark Henry, Rose Law Firm

11:30 – 12:30 Lunch

  • Keynote Speaker: Governor Asa Hutchinson

12:30 – 1:45 Ag Sustainability & Ag Tech:  Blockchain and Beyond

  • Mark Pryor, CEO, The Seam
  • Kevin Igli, Senior Vice President & Chief Environmental Officer; Tyson Foods, Inc

1:45 – 3:00 State Ag Departments & Regulation of Technology

  • Teena Gunter, General Counsel at Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry
  • Brad Deacon, Director, Office of Legal Affairs, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
  • Michele Dias, General Counsel, California Department of Food and Agriculture

For more information about the National Agricultural Law Center, visit: http://

About the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses. 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your county extension office as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. 

# # #

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126