Farmers, ranchers, landowners and agribusiness owners are proud to participate in one of the world’s most important industries — Agriculture. However, in this day and age these dedicated individuals and businesses face a number of unique issues affecting their assets, livelihood and future.
Areas of agriculture law
At Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C., a few of the areas in which we provide our clients with experienced and qualified representation include:
Today, many ranchers and farmers are leasing their land. Leases can be for equipment or land and the agriculture sector relies on them to meet the needs of farmers.These agreements can be with a government entity or a private party, so scope and complexity can vary. It’s important to have a written agreement if you can and contact an experienced lawyer to navigate the complexities.
Agreements that are made between contractors and producers are referred to as agricultural production contracts. Usually, these contracts point out the party that is responsible for supplying the resources as well as the method of payment, quality, and quantity for the product. Contracts can vary by state because the interpretations are governed by state law.
Agriculture law includes state and federal laws as well as other regulations and rules from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). If you need help navigating these regulations, be sure to get in touch with an attorney experienced in agriculture law.
Purchases and sales of real estate and assets
When purchasing and selling farmland, there are several things that should be considered. The terms and conditions should be readily available. These terms and conditions should address not just the price for sale, but also date of possession and any personal property that is included or excluded from the deal.
When property gets inherited in a family, sometimes there can be disputes that arise in terms of ownership. Other times, the appraisal didn’t value the property fairly. There is also dispute among marriages and divorces. Property disputes come in all shapes and sizes, but it is best to tackle them early on.
Oil and gas matters
Landowners also have ownership rights to oil and gas that is beneath their soil, which extends to before discovery and after. Since oil and gas can be privately owned, extraction is regulated by individual states as well as federal and constitutional law.
Water is of the utmost importance when it comes to agriculture. Livestock and crops would not be able to survive without it. Water that is used in production can come from the surface or from the ground. Regulation of the way that water is allocated is determined at the state level with little intervention on the federal level.
Laws for livestock are handled at the state level. While Texas is an open range state, ranchers should still be aware of where their animals are and be in control of them. For example, if the livestock ends up on the highway, determining who is at fault for a collision can take time. Ranchers in this situation should turn to an experienced attorney.
Agricultural lending issues
Sometimes farmers and ranchers will need to get a loan for their business, whether from a bank or a financial lending institution. Any issues that arise can be detrimental to the work at hand. It’s best to seek legal counsel before issues worsen.
Agricultural litigation can cover many issues, such as pesticide claims, defective equipment, contaminated feed, among others. Find an attorney that can represent you well if you find yourself needing litigation in the agriculture industry.
Do you need help with agriculture law?
When these matters arise, it is important to work with an attorney experienced in Agricultural Law. If you or someone you know needs assistance in navigating through one of these or any other agriculture related issues, please schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys today.