Pop Quiz… Name the only segment of the economy with a division of government devoted to it. The answer is agriculture. From the regulation of food preparation to the use of food aid as a foreign policy tool, agricultural and the laws surrounding
it impacts all of us whether we like to admit it or not.
The term agricultural law may not as common as personal injury law or divorce law , but make no mistake, agriculture and the law are forever intertwined. It naturally follows that where government is, so will be the lawyers advocating for their client. Much like a farmer, an agricultural lawyer in rural Iowa has to know a little bit about of lot of things related to agricultural law and be willing to know when it is time to get a dedicated specialist. This column will touch on the various segments of agricultural law trends and identify the potential impact on members of the northeast Iowa farm community.
Estate planning, business planning, government farm policy and taxation readily come to mind as legal issues facing the farm community. However, food safety regulations, interpretation of federal pesticide laws, land use regulation decisions and foreign food aid policy have an impact on our local community, often time without knowledge until far after the decisions have been made.
Farming has never been the easiest profession. Besides the hard work and long hours, there are a number of critical legal issues, ranging from financial and estate issues to labor and production contracts. An understanding of these legal issues can be vital to the success of a farm. Some think farming is the only industry that can be managed by a receipt book, hand shakes and avoiding seeking counsel for complex transactions. Those who think that way are not going to thrive and prosper.
If you have questions about any of these issues or how they apply to your situation, you should consult an attorney with experience in agricultural law.