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What Is Agriculture Law?

Agriculture law handles legal issues affecting the farming and ranching industries. An agricultural attorney gives legal advice on real estate, property law, and water rights. The agricultural industry must follow many federal and state laws. Regulatory agencies like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversee the industry.

Ranchers, farmers, and agribusinesses all need legal services from agricultural lawyers. Anyone involved in food production may interact with agriculture and agricultural law. Ag law touches more areas than many would suspect. This article will discuss when you may need an agricultural attorney.

Definition of Agriculture Law

Agricultural law encompasses all areas of agricultural operations. It includes livestock and crop issues and safety concerns, but also:

Agriculture in the United States is complex. That means this area of law interacts with environmental law, employment law, and even business law. When legal matters arise, a knowledgeable attorney is essential.

Terms to Know

  • Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The model code for the sale of movable goods. Under Article 2 of the UCC, livestock and crops are “movable goods."
  • Clean Water ActA federal law that establishes water pollution prevention programs and allows the government to fine water polluters
  • GMO. A GMO, or “genetically modified organism," is a plant or animal modified to make it resistant to viruses or environmental conditions. GMOs are a topic of considerable social debate.
  • FDA. The Food and Drug Administration regulates agricultural businesses' production and transport of food and monitors food-borne disease outbreaks.

Considerations When Hiring an Agriculture Law Attorney

The same state and federal laws affect small family farms and international agribusinesses. Zoning laws and water rights issues affect everyone, not just the farmer or rancher beside the river. All users must follow the ban when the FDA bans pesticides for health reasons.

Violating government regulations can lead to stiff fines and even closure of a facility. Legal counsel is essential to avoid violations and for appeals of citations if they occur.

Today's agricultural business is more than a farm. Small farms and ranches develop new seed stocks, equipment, and breeding practices every year.

Intellectual property law, filing patents, and copyrights are now part of every business. Businesses need legal resources as much as any IT company.

In the farming or ranching business, you should have an agricultural lawyer protecting your rights. Contact one when you have legal issues and discuss your options.

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