Jennifer Zwagerman serves as the Director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center & Assistant Professor of Law at Drake University Law School.
Jennie's varied background in the food and agricultural sectors allows her to provide a broad focus and expanding perspective to the important work that the Drake Agricultural Law Center undertakes. In addition to providing support to the Center's projects, Jennie teaches a variety of food and agricultural classes to law students, including Food & the Law and a practice-based Current Issues in Food & Agriculture class.
Jennie is a former President of the American Agricultural Law Association and past member of the Board of Directors, an organization she has been involved in since 2001. She is also heavily involved in the Iowa State Bar Association, where she sits on the Agricultural Law Section Council and is a member of the Rural Practice Committee. Jennifer is also a founding member of the Academy for Food Law & Policy and sits on the AFLP Board.
A 2004 graduate of Drake University Law School, the Drake Agricultural Law Center and the opportunities it provided was one of the primary reasons that brought Jennie to Drake for law school. Prior to law school, Jennie attended Michigan State University where she received a B.S. in Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications (with High Honors). While at Michigan State, Jennie interned with NorthStar Select Sires, Michigan Farm Radio Network, the Michigan Holstein Association and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. After graduation she spent several years as the Promotions Director for the Michigan Beef Industry Commission, Michigan Veal Committee and Michigan Cattleman’s Association before deciding to return to school to focus on agricultural law and policy.
While at Drake, Jennie was an Opperman Scholar, served as Editor in Chief of the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law and was one of the first Harkin Summer Fellows, spending a summer as an intern to the Senate Agricultural Committee. After graduating from Drake with highest honors, Jennie obtained her LL.M. degree in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She then spent two years as a law clerk to the Honorable David Hansen on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, before returning to Des Moines where she was an associate at Faegre & Benson (n/k/a Faegre Baker Daniels) in the general litigation group with a national practice in food and agricultural law. There, she wrote and presented nationally on food safety and labeling issues. Working primarily with agribusiness companies ranging from seed and chemical input suppliers to livestock and food companies, much of her work involved issues surrounding products liability, food safety, and food regulation.
She left the firm in late 2011 to return to Drake Law full-time, serving as the Director of Career Development in addition to her work with the Agricultural Law Center as Associate Director. In July 2019 she became the second director of the Agricultural Law Center, replacing the Center's director and founder, Neil Hamilton, upon his retirement.