What is Agriculture Law?

I’m often asked “What is Agriculture Law?” As I explained in this article for the Florida Law Journal a while back, there is no particular definition of Agriculture Law because Agriculture Law isn’t focused on any particular legal practice area. It is instead focused on the widely varying needs of a particular type of client, be it an agriculture lender, producer, supplier, service provider or any other agriculturally oriented business. Therefore, the practice of Agriculture Law may encompass any number of practice areas, such as commercial real estate, residential real estate, commercial lending, estate planning, regulatory matters, employment law, commercial litigation, you name it. While my practice is focused primarily on commercial real estate and commercial lending, I do assist my clients with a wide variety of matters to the extent I am capable and comfortable doing so. As the lawyer for a large agricultural lender and a number of private agri-businesses, my role is, therefore, somewhat like an individual’s primary care physician or “general practitioner.” I handle everything I can to the best of my ability, but if a specific legal matter – say, for example, an environmental law issue – comes up that requires specialized attention, I don’t hesitate to consult with or refer the matter to an attorney more experienced in that particular area. I prefer and often do remain involved, however, acting as the facilitator or center of communication between the client, the attorney engaged to provide specialized expertise and any other parties involved. I believe many clients, especially small business owners, can benefit from having an experienced “general practitioner” who can act as their general corporate counsel, guide them through a wide variety of legal issues and, when needed, connect them with other attorneys having the specific legal knowledge necessary for any given issue. I would encourage any small business owner, agricultural or otherwise, to consider the benefits of establishing an ongoing relationship with a trusted attorney so that he or she is readily available when and if needed as legal matters requiring attention arise.

As always, thanks for reading!

BH

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