Pifer named director of Agricultural Law Center

March 19, 2008

Ross Pifer, an experienced agricultural law attorney, has been named director of the Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. Pifer, who was born and raised on a fifth-generation farm near Punxsutawney, assumed his new duties on March 3.

In his capacity as director, Pifer will utilize his extensive knowledge about agriculture and the law to manage the center, providing resources and support through outreach, and the development of educational materials and programs, including the center's Web site.

Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff is pleased about Pifer's appointment. "The Agricultural Law Center is a unique resource, and Pennsylvania will benefit from Ross's experience and understanding of our state, our agriculture industry, and our laws," said Wolff. "Ross brings a wealth of knowledge gained through his lifelong involvement and experience in agriculture, bringing a keen understanding of the issues confronting the industry, like intellectual property, land use and zoning, economic development, environmental issues, and Pennsylvania's Agriculture, Communities, and Rural Environment (ACRE) regulations.”

Philip McConnaughay, dean of the law school, explained that in addition to the traditional services that the center has provided since its inception in 1997, Pifer will be broadening the scope and range of activities of the center considerably, exploring new synergies with the College of Agricultural Sciences and new projects and initiatives involving intellectual property, land use regulation, economic development, environmental issues and local government.

Pifer earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural business management from Penn State, a juris doctor from The Dickinson School of Law, and a master of laws (LL.M) degree in agricultural law from the University of Arkansas School of Law. While completing coursework for his LL.M. degree, Pifer worked as a research fellow at the National Agricultural Law Center, located at the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Before accepting the position as director of the center, Pifer was an attorney-adviser for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of General Counsel, where he served as the primary legal adviser to the Farm Service Agency, the Rural Housing Service, the Rural Utilities Service, and the Rural Business Service in Pennsylvania and to the Natural Resources Conservation Service in New York State.  He also has experience as a sales manager with a major international agricultural company and has served on active duty with the U.S. Army's Judge Advocate General Corps in Brunssum, the Netherlands.

The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center is a collaboration between Penn State University's Dickinson School of Law, Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Created in 1997, the center is one of only three such entities to be hosted by U.S. law schools. For more information on the center, visit the law school's Web site.

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Last Updated July 22, 2015