Primary Affiliation: Equity, Justice, and Human Flourishing Working Group
Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics | University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Agricultural and Natural Resource Policy Analysis
Navigating U.S. Congressional and State Legislative Process
The COVID-19 pandemic altered almost all aspects of life, including judicial proceedings. In response …
This Policy Spotlight was created through a partnership with the National Center for State …
Jonathan Coppess is the Director of the Gardner Agriculture Policy Program and Assistant Professor of Law and Policy in the Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining the University of Illinois, Jonathan served as Chief Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Administrator of the Farm Service Agency at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Ben Nelson. Recently, Jonathan has volunteered with the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition, Agency Review Team for USDA and as a part-time special counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. Prior to serving in Washington, DC, Jonathan practiced law in Chicago. He grew up on his family’s farm in western Ohio.
Miami University, Oxford, OH; B.S. in Business Marketing, 1996.
The George Washington University Law School, Washington D.C.; J.D., 2001.
2008 Farm Bill
Assisted U.S. Senator Ben Nelson on development of the 2008 farm bill, with focus on policies for a revenue-based commodity support program, crop insurance, ground and surface water conservation, rural microentrepreneur assistance, agricultural research, and assistance to farmers for the production of biomass crops for use in biofuels and renewable energy; conducted policy-based research; drafted policy memoranda, speeches, and discussion points; staffed Senator in meetings and conducted meetings with constituents, other Members of Congress and at Committee hearings, meetings, and the mark up of the legislation
Lead policy advisor to Senator Ben Nelson on various issues and legislation including annual agricultural appropriations bills with significant work on behalf of major land grant university, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 with specific work on the Renewable Fuels Standard and related policy matters, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, comprehensive immigration reform legislation and matters of agricultural trade, including meetings with foreign ambassadors regarding difficult trade matters such as the closing of foreign markets due to sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues
Supervised implementation of complex agricultural support programs created by the 2008 farm bill, such as supplemental disaster assistance, revenue-based commodity assistance, and innovative biomass crop production assistance; oversaw drafting of regulations and navigated them through the federal regulatory process; led effort to modernize and upgrade outdated information technology infrastructure in a challenging budgetary environment
Director of Gardner Agriculture Policy Program; published 300+ articles on farmdoc daily; provided web-based decision support for cover crops, crop insurance, and farm programs
U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
Responsible for development of comprehensive agricultural policy focused on substantial reforms that achieved reductions in federal spending; participated in extensive staff and Member-level negotiations; consulted with the United States Department of Agriculture, including the Office of General Counsel; involved in extensive consultations and negotiations with various interest groups, non-governmental organizations, lobbyists, and companies; drafted omnibus authorizing legislation and accompanying Committee Report consisting of detailed justification for the legislation, section-by-section analysis and implementing instructions.