8 Times to Hire an Agribusiness Lawyer


Agriculture is one of the most highly regulated industries worldwide, from planting seeds to stocking store shelves and everything in between.

There is more to agriculture operations than just production, and this is where having a relationship with a dependable agribusiness lawyer can make a difference in your ability to succeed and prosper. 

8 Time to Hire an Agribusiness Lawyer

Whether you are a single grower, a cottage foods producer, a small family farm, or a large corporate entity, there are a plethora of situations where the guidance of an agribusiness lawyer could be beneficial, including:

  1. Labor and employment law
  2. Land use and zoning
  3. Environmental regulations
  4. Intellectual property
  5. Supply, distribution, and sale contracts
  6. Banking and finance
  7. Water rights
  8. Product liability

These are just a handful of areas where an agribusiness lawyer can help you succeed and overcome specialized legal challenges. 

Labor and Employment Law

Virtually all agricultural employees are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), but there are several exemptions regarding overtime and minimum wage regulations that could be relevant for your operation.

Whether you are employing your seasonal workforce through the H2-A foreign labor visa program, hiring high school students to work after school, or have a full-time domestic labor force, there are many areas of employment that you need to consider to remain compliant. 

Land Use and Zoning 

How you use your land can be a point of contention. Zoning laws vary between counties and municipalities. What you may be able to do on one piece of property may not be allowed on another.

Rezoning your property is a complex endeavor that could make or break your business plans. An agribusiness attorney with knowledge of land use and zoning laws could prevent lengthy battles for the right to use your property the way you see fit to benefit your operation. 

Environmental Regulations

No one wants to be the person that causes environmental damage for financial gain. There is a fine balance between conducting your business operations efficiently and following all regulations.

It is not uncommon for environmental regulations to impact agricultural operations. When you are faced with complicated environmental regulations, a knowledgeable agribusiness firm can guide you through effective compliance or mount a defense for pending litigation. 

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property plays an important role in many aspects of the agriculture industry. From crop and livestock genetic breeding, to equipment design, to precision agriculture technology, trademark and copyrights can have a significant impact on what you can and cannot do with your operation and the way you market your products.

Agricultural intellectual property is a specialized area of agribusiness law that requires careful attention to detail, whether you are the one applying for protection or defending against an alleged violation. 

Supply, Distribution, and Sale Contracts

There are very few areas of agriculture that operate without contractual negotiations. Even small cottage food farmers engage in transactions that implicate the buying and selling of goods.

On a larger scale, corporate operations often maintain dozens to thousands of contracts for things such as supplies for products, distribution of products, sale of products, warehouse space, transportation, and so much more. If any parts of this well-oiled machine were to break down because of a breach of contract, you should seek help from an agribusiness lawyer who understands how to interpret the legal obligations of each party and find resolution through specific performance or compensation for damages. 

Banking and Finance

Despite modern technology and farming practices, there are some areas of agribusiness that remain unpredictable. Whether you are negotiating with crop insurance adjusters or evaluating the possibility of government subsidies, it is important to understand how these funds impact your business.

Other areas of agrifinance that may require the help of an agribusiness lawyer include farm loans, restructuring, estate planning, mergers, and acquisitions.

Water Rights

Water is one of the fundamental elements of production agriculture. Approximately 80% of U.S. water consumption is allocated to agriculture. Ground and surface water rights are competitive among water users. Balancing the water needs of agriculture, environmental, and municipal interests is known to spark complex legal disputes.

This is not an area of controversy that you want to face alone. 

Product Liability

Agricultural product recalls happen daily. Even with the most stringent quality control regulations, life happens. Though carrying product liability insurance is a great first step in preventing a detrimental experience, the size and scope of the issue could impact how your operation recovers.

A knowledgeable agribusiness firm will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and can be there with you throughout the process should litigation arise. 

Hiring an Agribusiness Lawyer

The agribusiness law firm of Groves Law has a passion for the agriculture industry and helping clients succeed. We focus on all aspects of agribusiness law from planning and production, through growth and succession.

Contact us today and let us help you keep your business moving forward.

Because we’re attorneys: This blog post is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis as of the date of publication. We disclaim any duty to update or correct any information contained in this blog post, including errors, even if we are notified about them. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we disclaim all representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied with respect to the information contained in this blog post, including, but not limited to, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title, non-infringement, accuracy, completeness, and timeliness. We will not be liable for damages of any kind arising from or in connection with your use of or reliance on this blog post, including, but not limited to, direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, and punitive damages. You agree to use this blog post at your own risk. Regarding your particular circumstances, we recommend that you consult your own legal counsel (hopefully Groves Law).

Author Photo

Kara Groves

After earning her law degree from University of Florida Levin College of Law and working as a tort defense litigator, Kara is settling down and bought some acreage out in Mount Dora. She has returned to her sustainable, regulatory background to help farmers and locally-focused businesses innovate and capitalize on direct-to-consumer movements across the state. In her off time, Kara is an avid gardener and cook. You’ll often find her in downtown Mount Dora adding to her plant collection or taking client meetings in the local brewery and marketplace.

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