The Business of Ag and More in NWLawyer

Cover of June NWLawyer

There were 6.8 million farms in the U.S. in 1935, according to the USDA, which was enough for one out of every 20 Americans to have their own farm. But as the years wore on and the country went through revolutionary changes in industry and infrastructure, the number of farms slipped lower and lower to the most recent count of just over 2 million farms, even as the total population has more than doubled.

Except in the same time, the total output of farming grew exponentially, concentrating agriculture into industry with larger farms managed by fewer people and, legally speaking, exceedingly more complex problems to solve. From bioengineered food to land-use conflicts and new pathogens with greater reach to sicken people, agriculture today intersects with almost any industry you can think of.

The new issue of NWLawyer takes a look at the legal professionals who work in Washington’s behemoth $49 billion agriculture industry, as Editor Kirsten Abel explains.

Bill Marler, the lawyer who represented children injured during the infamous Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak of the early ’90s, sits for an interview about his unique foodborne-illness-outbreak practice area and how it’s changed over the years. University of Washington School of Law Professor Julie K. Smith, who also has a scientific background in agricultural biotechnology and other related fields, shows what a new type of apple has in common with a special type of salmon and how it all ties to the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. There are also breakdowns of the complex rules in agritourism, information about the evolving alcohol beverage industry and what that has to do with hemp and CBD, and reviews of Washington restaurants written by WSBA members that are bound to ignite your salivary glands. But that’s just a taste.

In addition, WSBA Interim Executive Director Terra Nevitt looks forward to the many events of summer, not the least of which include the summer bar exam and 2019 WSBA Listening Tour rolling across all corners of Washington.