Food Law course new to CAFES


Abby Hopp, Reporter

A new course is now being offered by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences as a result of student requests.

Food Law, AGEC 366, is a new face-to-face class taught by Ryan McKnight, an instructor of Law, Management and Real Estate at SDSU.

“[SDSU student] Clay Newton was interested in the course and encouraged the department to teach the course here at SDSU,” McKnight said. “There was also an opening in the GPIdea [Great Plains Idea] program for this course. We thought this was the perfect opportunity to start it here at SDSU.”

The Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, or GPIdea, is an association of reputable universities who offer online, flexible, affordable programs for a virtual community of individuals from diverse backgrounds.  The program, coordinated by Dr. Donald Marshall, allows students to have specialized certificated and classes offered at all Universities in the program.

Before retirement, a professor at North Dakota State University taught Food Law as an online course through the GPIdea program.

“Food Law is a requirement for certain majors, minors and certificates within the GPIdea program and SDSU,” said Nicole Klein, Assistant Department Head of the Economics Department. “This course is also a great compliment to other law courses.”

McKnight and 12 other students across a variety of majors meet Monday and Wednesday from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m.

Currently the course is offered in the spring, but McKnight is hoping to expand the options for students.  

“I would love to see it taught both online and face-to-face,” McKnight said. “I would even offer it as a summer course if demand shows.”

Food Law helps students understand how the law impacts food and how business will be going in the future.  

“At the beginning of the semester I asked the students to look through the book and select chapters that interest them,” McKnight said. “Food law is such an in-depth topic with many areas and regulations to know and understand.”

Preparing three-to-four hours for each lecture, McKnight wants students to get the most out of the course.

“It’s fun to see when the students finally see the big picture and how it all clicks together,” McKnight said.

McKnight hopes to incorporate hands-on applicability to the course and have students apply the knowledge gained in class to their future.

“I love how I can teach the course how I want,” McKnight said. “I follow NDSU’s plan, but I can put my own swing on it.”

If you are interested in learning more about the course, contact Ryan McKnight at [email protected].