Faculty & Staff
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Neil Hamilton, Dwight Opperman Chair and Professor of Law and Director of The Agricultural Law Center

     phone: (515) 271-2065 e-mail: neil.hamilton@drake.edu

As one of the nation’s leading authorities on the role of law in shaping agriculture and the food system, Professor Hamilton has lectured throughout the United States and in 20 other countries. He has taught agricultural law for 30 years and has written more than four dozen law review articles and several books on food and agricultural law issues. Each year he is a visiting professor at the agricultural law graduate program at the University of Arkansas.

In addition to teaching classes each semester, Professor Hamilton advises the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law; helps arrange internships and other work experiences for student’s area of interest; and provides opportunities for students to assist in various research and agricultural law projects at the Center. He also supervises the Center's research initiatives on local food, sustainable land tenure, and policies to assist new farmers.

Professor Hamilton formerly served as the co-chair of the USDA Small Farms Advisory Committee and he currently serves on the advisory board for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and as the chair of the Iowa Food Policy Council. He serves on the boards of the Seed Savers Exchange, and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. He is a former president of the American Agricultural Law Association and has served as a consultant for many international organizations such as the United Nations Development Program in China, the Royal Botanical Garden at Kew, the World Bank, and the International Potato Research Center in Lima, Peru.

Matt Russell, State Food Policy Project Coordinator

    phone: (515) 271-4956 e-mail: matt.russell@drake.edu

Matt Russell is State Food Policy Project Coordinator at Drake University Agricultural Law Center where he is responsible for projects relating to improving the opportunities in Iowa's food system and rural economy. He joined the Center staff in April 2006 and spent the first six months working as the Iowa Food Products Coordinator under a public-private partnership between Drake University and the office of Governor Tom Vilsack. His study of the State of Iowa's food purchasing practices is the basis for his ongoing work creating new opportunities in Iowa's food economy. Matt grew up on a family farm near Anita in Cass County, received his B.A. from Loras College in Dubuque, and studied for the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary in Illinois. In 2003 he earned an M.S. in Rural Sociology from Iowa State University, with a concentration in community food systems. In addition to his work at Drake, Matt and his husband Patrick Standley operate Coyote Run Farm, a 110 acre farm in rural Lacona and market fresh produce, eggs, and beef at farmers markets and other local outlets. He serves on the Iowa Farm Service Agency State Committee of the USDA, the Marion County Development Commission, and on the board of the Iowa Network for Community Agriculture.

Before coming to Drake, Matt worked as an organizer for Iowa Citizen Action Network, worked for the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, and taught at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has taught Sociology at Des Moines Area Community College and an undergraduate course at Drake about Cuba in transition. His work on food and agriculture, has taken him to 26 states, the District of Columbia, Scotland, Italy, and Cuba. 


Ed Cox, Staff Attorney

    e-mail: edward.cox@drake.edu

Ed Cox began his fellowship with the Drake Agricultural Law Center in the Spring of 2010. Ed is a 2009 graduate of Drake University Law School, graduating with a Certificate in Food and Agricultural Law. During his time as a Drake student Ed served as a Note Editor on the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law and published two notes in the Journal, Waters for Fighting: Is Missouri Groundwater Allocation Law Adequate to Cope with Increased Demand and Shall We Gather at the River? An Analysis of Iowa’s Rivers and Streams as Recreation-based Economic Development Resources. Ed completed summer internships with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and the Dallas County Attorney’s Office and worked as a law clerk on the NRCS Easement Programs Team.

Ed grew up in a small town in the Missouri Ozarks and received a B.S. from Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. Prior to his legal career Ed completed a four year enlistment in the U.S. Coast Guard, serving aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba out of Boston.


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Last Modified: 11/6/2013 10:52:00 AM by Ag Law Workstudy