L. Leon Geyer of Blacksburg, Va., professor of agricultural and applied economics in Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has received the 2008 American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) Distinguished Service Award.

As the organization’s top tribute, the award honors Geyer’s commitment to agricultural law in several capacities. Geyer conducts research on a variety of law and economics-related topics, including environmental law, commercial law, business organization, taxation, and tort problems in the farm and commercial sectors. In addition to managing Virginia’s largest tax practitioner workshop, Geyer teaches farm taxes and presents workshops for farmers around the state. He has also published extensively on agricultural law issues.

Geyer received the 1999 AALA Award for Excellence for Professional Scholarship, given for the best law review article on an agricultural law topic during the year. A charter member of the AALA, Geyer has previously served on the organization’s board of directors and as its president.

At Virginia Tech, Geyer has taught thousands of undergraduate students about environmental and agricultural law, as well as real estate appraisal and law. In addition to earning numerous departmental and college awards for his teaching excellence, Geyer received the 1997 Alumni Academic Advising Award, the university’s highest honor for dedication to advising undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the 2005 Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech’s faculty in 1981, Geyer worked as an economist and an attorney for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture. He has also served as a visiting law professor at several institutions in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Geyer earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University in 1969, a law degree at the University of Notre Dame in 1973, and a doctorate in agricultural and applied economics at the University of Minnesota in 1985.

The AALA is the only national professional organization focusing on the legal needs of the agricultural community. Crossing traditional barriers, it offers an independent forum for investigation of innovative and workable solutions to complex agricultural law problems. This role has taken on greater importance in the midst of current international and environmental issues reshaping agriculture and impending technological advances that promise equally dramatic changes.

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