By Jess Feldman
John Dillard, associate attorney at Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC (OFW), will discuss Developing Trends in Agricultural and Environmental Law at the 2018 Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference. The conference will be held on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Annapolis, MD.
Dillard grew up on a beef cattle farm in Amelia County Virginia and was an active member of Future Farmers of America (FFA), a youth organization that fosters leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
At the conference on Nov. 8, Dillard will highlight this year’s developing legal issues in agricultural and environmental fields, including courtroom decisions, law and policy.
“We are starting to get an idea on how this administration is going to handle genetically modified traits, so I am looking forward to having a broad discussion on that, as well as many other developments in agricultural law and policy,” Dillard said.
Dillard has two BS degrees from Virginia Tech, one in Animal and Poultry Sciences and one in Agricultural and Applied Economics. After receiving his master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, Dillard worked as an economist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Despite his successful career in law, Dillard did not initially plan to be an attorney. “I took an agricultural law class while at Virginia Tech that I was really interested in,” Dillard explained. “I did pretty well and talked to my advisor about going to law school and he said, ‘well the world has too many lawyers,’ so I didn’t go right away.”
Throughout his time at the USDA, Dillard gained an interest in the policy and regulatory aspect of agriculture, which led him to consider how those changes impact operators. “Law seemed a lot cooler than being an economist and I thought, ‘law isn’t a spectator sport,’ so I went to law school,” Dillard said.
Dillard currently concentrates his practice on regulatory compliance and litigation with an emphasis on agriculture and food law. OFW tends to work with a number of trade associations that provide regulatory assistance to their members, and also lobby congress to alter regulation, according to Dillard.
“I do a lot on safety and labeling regulations, particularly with an interest in meat and poultry, as well as animal feed,” Dillard said. “I also do a lot of work on antitrust laws, teaching clients what’s in play and out of play in their specific regions.”
For more information on the 4th annual Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference, or to register, visit https://go.umd.edu/aleiconf