Michael R. McLeod, who retired from farming lobbying to write books and operate a rustic cabin resort in the Appalachian Mountains, died July 20 in an Asheville, N.C., medical facility from problems of COVID-19. He was 78.
A previous personnel director and basic counsel of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry under the late Chairman Herman Talmadge, D-Ga., McLeod went on to construct a rewarding career in personal law practice, lobbying for a wide variety of prominent clients in product futures trading, crop insurance and farming commodity promotion boards funded by “checkoff” evaluations on producers.
He joined the Agriculture Committee personnel in the early 1970s after graduating from law school, helping compose the Rural Development Act of 1972 for a subcommittee headed by Sen. Hubert Humphrey, D-Minn. On the full committee staff, he contributed in enactment of the Farm Credit Act of 1971, the 1973 farm costs, grain examination reform legislation producing USDA’s Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS), and the Product Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974, which produced the Product Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
In 1983, McLeod went into private practice with the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) as his first customer. He stated last year that he remained involved in product futures guideline “for both personal customers and pro bono work” for many years and “worked with CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler and Elizabeth Warren on the Product Futures Modernization Act of 2010.”
His experience in product legislation and as a personal investor caused his newest book, “The Greatest Financial Scandals of the Last Twenty Years: From Madoff to the Cover of the OptionSellers/INT FCStone Scandal,” released last October.
His first book, “High-end Trip Rentals for Life: Holiday Rentals by the Numbers,” was the story of how he and his spouse Sandra developed a holiday rental organisation originally as a pastime. Together, they also wrote “Blue Ridge Mountain Gardening: 4 Principles You Should Know for Gardening in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.” In March 2016, he published “The Death of Civility and Sound Judgment: How America Has Actually Become Alarmingly Polarized,” a reflection on how today’s political environment contrasts greatly with that of the 1970s. Another book, “Flat Stomach for Life: A Holistic Guide to Living a Healthy, Purpose Driven Life into Your 100’s,” also came out in 2016.
Late in 2015, he wrote that he wanted to publish 2 more books, one that explains the necessary product checkoff programs for agricultural commodities and another that would tell the story of the development of the Federal Crop Insurance Coverage Program after he introduced AACI in 1980.
McLeod’s profession was not without debate, frequently involving the product promo and crop insurance customers of the law office he co-founded, McLeod, Watkinson and Miller. The firm was the target of critics who, mostly without success, released legal difficulties trying to block necessary “checkoffs.” In one case, the company was challenged in an intra-industry dispute including the soybean checkoff, among its major clients.
Following a disagreement that ultimately led to his departure from the law practice, McLeod took legal action against the American Association of Crop Insurers (AACI), which had ended him as its CEO in March of 2017, declaring age discrimination.
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Source: agri-pulse. com