Drake Law Library
Agricultural Law Center
Drake University Law School
2621 Carpenter Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

Staff Profiles and Contact Information

Neil Hamilton, Director

Neil HamiltonAs 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 over 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. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Nantes in France for 18 years and teaches annually 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.

  • 515-271-2065

Matt Russell, State Food Policy Project Coordinator

Matt RussellMatt Russell has been the State Food Policy Project Coordinator at Drake Agricultural Law Center since April 2006. In his first project he served as the Iowa Food Products Coordinator in a public-private partnership between Drake University and the office of Governor Tom Vilsack to look for opportunities for the State of Iowa to help grow the Iowa food economy. Currently he coordinates the Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign and works with farms, businesses, government agencies, and non-profits to develop opportunities for Iowa grown foods. 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 a partner operate Coyote Run Farm, a 110 acre farm in rural Lacona and market fresh produce, eggs and meat at farmers markets and other local outlets. He also serves as the board chair of the Iowa Network for Community Agriculture.

Before coming to Drake, Matt worked as an organizer for Iowa Citizen Action Network, a statewide consumer advocacy non-profit and for the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, an advocacy and educational organization working towards sustainable food systems and vibrant rural communities throughout Iowa, across the nation, and around the world. Matt taught morality, social justice, and journalism at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, Nevada and Sociology at Des Moines Area Community College. In his work in the arena of food and agriculture, Matt has traveled to 21 states, the District of Columbia, Scotland, and Italy.

  • (515) 271-4956
  • matthew.russell@

Ed Cox, Fellow

Ed CoxEd 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.

  • (417) 496-2353