Agriculture is the backbone of America. As a result of the incredible work ethic and technological advancement of American agriculture, consumers in the U.S. spend a smaller percentage of their disposable income on food than citizens of any other country in the world.
At Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, we understand both the critical importance of agriculture (and related lines of business) to the economy as a whole and the unique needs of the diverse businesses that feed America.
From farm cooperatives whose members make up the majority of America’s 2 million farmers to beef cattle ranching operations and specialty producers of fruits and vegetables to large-scale egg producers that provide Americans a valuable source of protein and large-scale citrus growers that produce citrus for delivery to the processed and fresh citrus markets, we have experience with virtually every type of legal issue that an agriculture business is likely to encounter.
We have experience meeting the needs of our agricultural clients in the following areas:
- Mergers, acquisitions and asset dispositions
- Real estate due diligence, acquisition, sale and structuring, including sale/leasebacks
- Financing and capitalization
- Land leasing for farming, livestock, recreational and conservation activities
- Business formation and strategic planning
- Environmental compliance and permitting, including water use and water storage permitting and livestock permitting
- Conservation and land stewardship, including conservation easements and governmental land management programs
- Taxation and succession planning
- Governance, member, patronage and equity ownership issues unique to cooperatives
- Marketing agreements and negotiations
- Labor and employment
- Worker’s compensation
- Intellectual Property, including clearance, development, prosecution, registration, protection, enforcement and transactions relating to patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and other proprietary rights
- Healthcare, occupational safety, food safety, and other regulatory issues
- Commodities marketing, including cash and futures contracting, warehousing and transport of commodities
- Credit and secured transactions
- Securities placement and regulation
- Government relations with federal, state and local governments
- Non-government organization and citizen group relations
We have advised agricultural clients on numerous complex legal issues, including hybrid or hedge-to-arrive grain contracting, cooperative antitrust exemptions, the acquisition, securitization and operation of large-scale citrus growing operations, the structuring and operation of one of the largest egg producers in the United States, and the revision of cooperative corporate statutes in several states, including the current Ohio Cooperative Law. Although a substantial amount of our cooperative practice is in agriculture, we also represent other cooperatives, such as purchasing, health care, credit union, utilities/telecommunications, food, service, housing (condominium) and employee/worker cooperatives.
While our agricultural clients focus on growing and producing the food that feeds our country, we focus on growing their businesses and our unique ability to quickly analyze and understand their needs empowers us to quickly and efficiently adapt our skills and experience to those particular needs.