Food and Agriculture Law and Policy Degree Online

What is a Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy Degree (MFALP)?

The Master of Food and Agricultural Law and Policy Degree is a relatively new degree first introduced by the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law School. In 2014, Vermont Law School launched two new master's degrees designed for students who desire to create and innovate sustainable food and agriculture systems. The American Bar Association approves both degrees.

  • Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy (MFALP)
  • Master of Laws (LLM) in Food and Agriculture Law

In addition to offering the MFALP, Vermont Law school also provides a combination Juris Doctor degree and a Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy degree. Both degrees can be earned simultaneously in three academic years which is the time allotted for the Juris Doctor degree alone. This degree combination is for individuals whose vision is to create and innovate sustainable food systems and agriculture. Students take courses in the environment, policy writing, advocacy, and agriculture.

What Skills Will I Learn Studying for an MFALP Masters?

These degrees involve the study of the laws and regulations that govern food production and agriculture. Areas of research include the following.

  • Animals, crops, food, and beverages
  • Growing, raising, producing and transportation
  • Buying and selling of food and agricultural products
  • Distribution
  • Laws and policy regarding the cooking, eating, and
  • Federal, state, and local rules regarding the available food supply
There are many laws and regulations regarding multiple issues such as the following.

  • Urban gardens
  • Organic Agriculture
  • Supplemental nutritional assistance
  • Food trucks
  • Farm subsidies
  • Unpasteurized milk
  • Obesity
  • And more.

How are Courses Taught?

The MFALP is a 30-credit program available online and also by engaging in experiential learning. The MFALP trains future food and agricultural advocates and entrepreneurs through traditional residential programming as well as online classes. Vermont Law School also offers a summer session and there is also the option of clinical training in a food and agricultural law clinic.

How Long Does it Take to Complete an MFALP Program?

A Master's of Food and Agricultural Law and Policy Degree (MFALP) has 30 credits. A student can complete the program in 12 months but are allotted up to five years for degree completion. The MFALP degree is also available as a joint degree with Vermont Law Schools JD. MFALP enrollment is open to students enrolled in other law school programs who wish to combine their JD with the MFALP.

What Are Some Example Food Law Careers?

In 2017, the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic prepared a Food Law and Policy Career Guide which lists career specialties and subspecialties in food law. The following settings employ food and agricultural lawyers. There are so many possible paths to take for a career in food law. It is helpful for an individual to know where his interests and passions lie to help direct his job search. There are positions in agriculture, animal welfare, biotechnology, GMO's, community development, disaster relief economics, sustainability finance to name a few.

  • University settings are at the forefront of the food system, and food policy research.
  • State and Federal government agencies offer positions that impact food law and policy issues in either research or as legal counsel.
  • Non-governmental organizations and research institutes work with specific issues within the food system such as sustainability, local and urban agriculture, school nutrition, food safety, climate change, etc.
  • International organizations and agencies work with food policy regarding challenges of hunger, poverty, climate change and population growth.
  • Law Firms
  • Consulting Firms
  • Fellowships and Grants
  • Listservs are communication forums designed for the Association for the Study of Food and Society to discuss issues and news associated with food law and policy.

Best Food Law Programs - Agricultural Law School Rankings

In 2017, the US News and World Report ranked the following universities as the top schools for environmental law and management.

  1. Vermont Law School
  2. Lewis and Clark
  3. Pace University
  4. University of California at Berkeley
  5. The University of California at Los Angeles
  6. Georgetown University
  7. University of Colorado-Boulder
  8. Duke
  9. University of Utah (Quinney)
  10. New York University

Related Agricultural Policy Graduate Programs

There are 31 agribusiness graduate degrees offered in the United States. The following are just several of the different graduate programs available to candidates who are interested in food law and policy.

  • Master of Science in Agriculture
  • Master of Science in International Food and Agribusiness
  • Master of Science in Agricultural Economics
  • International MBA in Food and Agribusiness
  • Master of Agribusiness (MAB)