Agriculture Law

What Is Agricultural Law?

Until the mid-1980s, legal matters about agricultural operations generally fell under the realm of corporate and business law. However, as regulations, compliance programs and operational best practices drastically shifted within agriculture over the past 30 years, individualized attention to the industry has grown exponentially. Agricultural Law continues to develop in response to the rules and regulations governing the agriculture industry and out of the need for attorneys with experience handling farm and ranch transactions, including real estate purchase agreements, land contracts, and succession planning.

Endacott, Peetz & Timmer and Agricultural Law

Our agricultural clients include seed companies, generational family farmers, ranchers, feedlot owners, large animal veterinarians, and specialty contractors. We provide our clients with age-related legal services for all aspects of an agricultural business, including drafting cash-rent and crop share leases, resolving zoning issues, litigating agricultural contract disputes and mediating difficult issues that arise within the family agricultural business context. In addition, our Agricultural Law practice specializes in business succession planning for families to seamlessly transfer the family farm, ranch or agricultural-related operation to the next generation.

Agricultural Business
We not only represent farmers and ranchers, we also represent the business that serve or rely upon farmers and ranchers. Our attorneys have years of experience facilitating strong connections between agricultural producers, their local communities and local businesses. Whether you are an ag-lender, a commodity broker, a crop consultant, or seed dealer, we have the experience necessary to provide you with quality legal services.

Succession and Estate Planning
A vast majority of farms, ranches, and agricultural businesses are family-owned and run, which means that there is almost always a need for succession planning to address the business owner’s retirement, disability, or death. There are serious and often unfavorable consequences if a business owner retires or passes away with an inadequate succession and estate plan in place. Our Agricultural Law practice focuses on succession planning to ensure the next generation of farmers, ranchers and business owners start out with the best possible platform while minimizing tax consequences for the preceding generation. An appropriate succession and estate plan reduce stress and fear of the unknown for every member of an agricultural family.

FAQs

I will be taking over the family farm. Should I be setting up a new business?
Whether a farming operation or other type of business, our attorneys generally recommend that you limit your potential liability by running the business through a separate legal entity such as a limited liability company or corporation. Which one of those is right for you depends on the circumstances, such as whether there will be multiple owners, the size of the operation, and income potential. The upfront costs of good legal and tax advice will reap benefits in the long run. Consult an agriculture attorney to discuss the details of your specific circumstances to see what options are available to you.
I have several children, but only some of my children work on our family farm. Can I structure a succession plan treat my children equally while still ensuring my farming children get to farm?
Developing a succession plan is a lengthy process, and it can become more complicated when there are children with different levels of involvement with the family farm. However, it is entirely possible to structure a succession plan to pass your farm to the farming children while treating every child equitably. Our attorneys can tailor a plan to meet your specific needs, whether that be structuring a limited liability company to allow non-farming children to have passive ownership while giving decision-making authority to the farming children or drafting a trust with right of first refusal provisions for farming children to buy agricultural land and equipment first. Creating the best succession plan depends on many factors and is unique to each family. Consulting with an experienced agricultural attorney and estate planner will help ensure that you have all the right documentation to ensure a smooth transition process.