2023 Candidates for President-Elect and AALA Directors

AALA members may now vote in the 2023 election for president-elect and AALA directors until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, September 15, 2023.


President -Elect

Brandon Davis

Brandon Davis is a partner within the Phelps Dunbar office located in New Orleans, Louisiana. A significant portion of his legal practice is dedicated to offering pragmatic solutions tailored to agri-businesses operating in the realm of labor and employment, as well as those with needs that intersect with business transactions, employment-based immigration, and governmental affairs and compliance.

Incorporating his deep connection to rural Louisiana and his familial heritage, which spans generations of small-scale farmers, Brandon possesses a sincere understanding of the pragmatic, operational, and logistical facets of contemporary farming within the regulatory landscape that concerns agricultural employers. This agricultural foundation underpins his comprehensive approach to resolving a diverse array of legal challenges that arise within the agri-business labor and employment domain. His legal experience extends to representing individual farmers, farm cooperatives, and investor-owned farming enterprises in matters of litigation, advisory services, and regulatory affairs. Throughout this extensive work, he focuses on adeptly navigating the complexities of the regulatory framework while addressing the fluid changes in labor and employment law with timely and effective solutions.

Brandon is a frequent speaker on matters of law impacting the agricultural sector and actively publishes content covering legal trends, impending regulations, and shifts within the industry. His keen attention to legislative developments has earned him a reputation as an authority in agricultural workforce management. A member of the AALA since 2017, he frequently participates in association events and contributes to its publications.

Beyond his involvement with the AALA, Brandon maintains an active presence in both local and national legal communities, encompassing both general and specialized bar associations, as well as industry-specific groups. In addition to his contributions to the AALA, he has previously served as president of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce. He holds the distinction of being among the select few – less than 500 individuals nationwide – chosen as fellows for the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. Brandon’s commitment is also evident through his service on the board of directors for the New Orleans Bar Association and his membership of 17 years in the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Director Election 1

Michael Formica

As the National Pork Producer Council’s chief legal strategist, Michael Formica develops and implements the organization’s legal strategy on the critical issues facing pig farmers today. He builds and leads broad coalitions to protect the rights of livestock farmers by working closely with the White House, congressional lawmakers, and federal and state agencies on regulatory and legal issues. Throughout his legal career, Formica has successfully defended farmers and American agriculture in some of the most high-profile debates before all three branches of government.

A long-time American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) member, he has moderated and served as a panelist at several symposiums. He is the former chair of the American Bar Association’s Section on Environment, Energy and Resource’s Water Quality and Wetlands subcommittee and has been cited as one of Washington, D.C.’s foremost experts on environmental and energy law. In 2022, his peers recognized him as one of the nation’s top 100 lobbyists, and he received the AALA’s Excellence in Agricultural Law award.

Michael was educated at the University of Tennessee (Go, Vols!), the University of Rhode Island, and Vermont Law School, where he founded the influential Vermont Journal of Environmental Law.

He is an avid paddler, hunter, and fisherman and sits on the Board of Directors for Virginia’s Department of Wildlife Resources, where he chairs the Education, Planning and Outreach Committee. He lives in McLean, Virginia, with his wife, Camille; two children; and dogs.

Cort Jensen

I would love to serve on the board for the AALA. I was raised on a farm/ranch in Circle, Montana. I went to college in Minnesota before returning to my home state to go to law school. I have been a governmental attorney for over 20 years and the head of the Department of Agriculture’s legal unit since 2008. In 2009, I attended my first AALA meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia. I currently teach Agriculture and Food Law at the Blewett School of Law at the University of Montana. I have served as the head of the governmental section of my State Bar and still serve as a member of the Technology and the Law working group. My hobbies include movies, board games, and asking questions. AALA is fantastic, and I would hope to continue the great work that is being done to keep it engaging and relevant. You have it easy as there is a great bunch of nominees for the board. No matter who you choose, you will have made a great choice.

Director Election 2

Jonathan Coppess

Jonathan Coppess is Associate Professor of Agricultural Policy and Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Director of the Gardner Agriculture Policy Program. The author of THE FAULT LINES OF FARM POLICY: A LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL HISTORY OF THE FARM BILL, he is a member of the farmdoc project and a frequent contributor to farmdoc daily. Jonathan previously served as Chief Counsel for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, as well as on a temporary, part-time basis as a special counsel. Prior to his service on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, Jonathan served as the Administrator of the Farm Service Agency at USDA and Legislative Assistant to Sen. Ben Nelson. Prior to his time in Washington, D.C., Jonathan was a litigation associate at Freeborn & Peters LLP in Chicago, Illinois. Jonathan grew up on his family’s farm in western Ohio, earned his bachelor’s from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and his Juris Doctor from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C.

Kristine Tidgren

Kristine is the Leonard Dolezal adjunct associate professor in the Agricultural Education & Studies Department at Iowa State University. She also serves as the Director for the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation, which includes Iowa’s Beginning Farmer Center.

Since joining CALT in 2013, Kristine has written hundreds of blogposts (AgDocket) and other publications to keep tax professionals, attorneys, agricultural producers, and policymakers informed about tax and legal developments impacting agriculture. She also writes and edits curriculum for income tax courses taught throughout the country and oversees the educational materials and resources offered by CALT. Each year, Kristine speaks to thousands of professionals and producers on tax and agricultural law topics. She also directs nine two-day Annual Federal Income Tax Schools, an Agricultural Law Seminar, three Agricultural Tax Issues Courses, and various webinars hosted by CALT. In 2023, CALT partnered with The Ohio State University and the National Agricultural Law Center to offer Cultivating Connections: A Conference for Farm Transition Planners.

Kristine teaches AgEds 451, a three-credit agricultural law class in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She regularly collaborates with members of the Rural Tax Education Committee, the Land Grant University Tax Education Foundation, and the American Agricultural Law Association. Kristine has provided the agricultural tax update for the AALA annual symposium since 2017. She has also served as a co-chair for the distance education committee and the symposium’s policy track subcommittee. Kristine is licensed to practice law in Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas (inactive).


A link to the ballot can be found here. Members will need their login credentials to vote. If you need to reset your username and/or password, please click on this link prior to voting. For any other questions, please contact the AALA office by filling out this form.