Definition of Agriculture Law

Agriculture law governs legal issues affecting the farming and ranching industries. Typical agriculture law issues include the use of pesticides, land use and zoning, environmental issues, and patents on genetically modified seeds. Because agriculture law focuses on an entire industry, it can affect small family farms as well as large commercial farming operations.

Agriculture law includes federal and state laws, as well as rules and regulations enacted by administrative agencies, such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Terms to Know

  • Agriculture – Anything of or relating to farming and ranching
  • Clean Water Act – A federal law that establishes water pollution prevention programs and allows the government to fine water polluters
  • Commodity programs– Federal programs that provide farmers with financial assistance and loans using the farmer’s future crops as collateral
  • Agricultural Act of 1949 – A federal law that establishes national prices for crops and provides aid to farmers to make up the difference between the government target price and a lower actual price
  • Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act – A federal law that created Food for Peace, a government program that provides food relief overseas

Other Considerations When Hiring an Agriculture Law Attorney

Farms, both big and small, can face a host of federal, state, and local legal issues. Farmers may have regular contact with the federal government through federal aid and loan programs, and many states provide additional assistance. States and the federal government also impose many environmental, safety, and employment regulations and responsibilities on farmers. Finally, at the local level, farmers may have issues involving land use and zoning. This is why it is important to consult a lawyer with experience in the specific issue you are facing. Without the knowledge of how the many areas of law specifically affect farms, a lawyer may not be able to obtain the relief that farmers need.

Many farmers may also face sanctions by administrative agencies, such as the USDA or EPA. Navigating the appeal process when fined or penalized by one of these agencies can be extremely complex. Farmers facing administrative proceedings should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to protect their legal rights and ensure that they have considered all the possible legal solutions.

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If you are facing an agriculture-related legal issue, contact Mattingly, Simms, Robinson & McCain, PLLC immediately to protect your rights and explore your legal options.