Featured Member: Jess Phelps

Employer: The Lyme Timber Company LP

Education and Work Experience:

Drake Law School J.D.; Iowa State University, B.S.

How did you get interested/involved in agriculture law?

My family farms in southwest Iowa and I grew up really interested in property law and land use issues related to farming operations (more specifically, historic preservation and land conservation of agricultural areas generally).

What is your current role and what type of work are you doing for agriculture?

Currently, I work as Associate General Counsel at the Lyme Timber Company in Hanover, New Hampshire. In this role, I work with Lyme in managing over 800,000 acres of timberland across the country. Lyme is a private timberland investment manager that focuses on the acquisition and sustainable management of lands with unique conservation values.  My work ranges from acquiring additional timberlands to general corporate work.

What are some of the challenges and opportunities you see in your job and the ag law profession?

The biggest challenge in my job and my specific area within agricultural/natural resource law is the pace of change and the scale of natural resource threats that we are facing. Keeping forested (or farmland) as working land requires different conservation skills and strategies, which will continually need to be adapted.

When did you join, why did you join the AALA and what keeps you active in the organization?

I first joined AALA back in law school and, after a break, rejoined a few years back. I really value the professional network and also enjoy the symposium and working, as co-editor, on the Agricultural Law Update.  I’ve made many connections through AALA and I look forward to continuing to be involved in this important organization.