Agriculture Law

Bismarck, North Dakota Agriculture Law Attorney

As the agriculture industry grows more and more complex, so have the rules, regulations, and various legal issues surrounding it. In today’s hyper-connected world, it is more important than ever that you have a team that can keep up. That should include your attorneys. You deserve a lawyer who understands the complexities that are unique to your agricultural business. At Germolus Knoll & Leibel, LLP, we can help you figure out how to address issues connected with expanding your farming operations, work with regulators to help resolve any insurance or environmental challenges, assist farmers in drafting contracts, and more.

Additionally, we are experienced in handling agricultural liability issues, understanding issues related to food-borne illness claims, and are proficient in various federal, state, and local agricultural laws. Do not stress yourself out trying to figure out complicated legal issues on your own. You can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to help you ensure compliance in all relevant areas (taxes, health, safety, licensing, and more). We know that agriculture is an ever-changing business. That is why we are dedicated to keeping up to date on all the latest agricultural trends and news. Your business is our top priority. We have helped countless clients successfully handle their agriculture law cases. We can help you, too.

We know that each and every one of today’s farmers are part of a diverse group of farm support businesses. Whether you are involved with a farm cooperative, an industry trade organization, seed and feed company, food processors, or agricultural insurers, we know how to help. Our team of experienced agricultural lawyers draw on over 60 years of combined legal experience and will be there for you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a skilled and qualified member of our legal team. We would be happy to sit down with you and discuss any questions and concerns you may have.

Areas of Agriculture Law That We Can Handle

In this rapidly industrializing and ever-connected world, agriculture is a booming business. Its complex nature demands legal counsel who are well-versed in many areas of law, like business and contract law, property law, agribusiness guidance, and more. Our legal services cover each and every component of the agriculture industry, including but not limited to the following:

Commercial Transactions: The agriculture industry is built on commercial transactions of all kinds. From cattle auctions and land leases to custom harvesting arrangements and contracts for aerial pesticide application, commercial agriculture transactions cover a broad array of issues. Such transactions are typically governed by state law, although federal law can often still apply. This usually happens when there are federal provisions uniquely applicable to agriculture.

In the United States, the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is the primary law governing commercial transactions. This includes those that occur in an agricultural context. Most states have adopted the UCC in various forms, and the UCC provisions tend to be fairly uniform countrywide. However, different provisions and interpretations may occur across jurisdictions.

Cooperatives: Agricultural cooperatives are horizontally coordinated, private business organizations that are owned and operated by its members. Regardless of type and membership size, each cooperative is built around its members’ specific objectives and to adapt itself accordingly. Cooperatives are focused on achieving vertical integration. Agricultural cooperatives operate through activities such as achieving economies of scale, helping producers assure markets and supplies, and gaining market power. Such activities are done through collective marketing, processing, purchasing supplies and services, and bargaining.

Like any other business entity, agricultural cooperatives must file legal documents for their incorporation. They must also elect a board of directors and acquire the necessary capital. Because of their unusual nature, agricultural cooperatives may be affected by a number of statutes that do not apply to regular business corporations. Agricultural cooperatives may also exclude certain items from their gross income through a series of deductions.

Corporate Farming: In North Dakota, almost all corporations and limited liability companies are prohibited from engaging in the business of farming or ranching. Similarly, they are prohibited from owning or leasing land used for that purpose. However, a corporation or a limited liability company may be part of a partnership in the business of farming and ranching if all other requisites are met.

In addition to this, business corporations may be able to convert to a farming or ranching corporation by adopting an amendment to its articles of incorporation. This amendment must specify that the corporation has chosen to be subject to North Dakota Code Chapter 10-19.1 and all its requirements. A limited liability company may be able to convert to a farming or ranching company through a similar process. Cooperative corporations are not prohibited from engaging in farming or ranching. Non-profit organizations may also be allowed to own or lease farmland or ranchland.  A skilled agricultural lawyer from Germolus Knoll & Leibel, LLP can help you understand everything you need to know about the laws pertaining to corporate farming in North Dakota.

Federal EPA Regulations and Rules: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a regulatory agency authorized by Congress to write the regulations that explain the legal, operational, and technical details that are necessary to implement laws. Such regulations may be mandatory for individuals, businesses, state or local governments, or non-profit institutions, among other entities.

The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) codifies these regulations on an annual basis, with Title 40 being the section of the CFR expressly dealing with the EPA’s mission of “protecting human health and the environment.” Generally speaking, Title 40 is not updated until July. The Federal Register (FR), on the other hand, serves as the official daily publication for rules, both established and proposed and notices of federal agencies and organizations. It also includes executive orders and other presidential documents.

Pesticides: Under North Dakota’s definition of pesticides, the law also includes insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, disinfectants, and other products intended to kill, repel, or mitigate pests. Each pesticide dealer and applicator must be certified and deemed competent to handle restricted use pesticides (RUPs). They must also be found competent to conduct proper application activities in order to prevent excessive risk to human health or the environment. Furthermore, individuals buying or applying RUPs for private use must obtain private certification or work under the direct supervision of a certified applicator.

North Dakota law assigns multiple certification classes for pesticide application, including: agricultural pest control (plant and animal), seed treatment, commodity and structural fumigation, ornamental and turf pest control, greenhouse, right of way, public health pest control, research and demonstration pest control, wood preservatives, vertebrate, sewer root control, and home, industrial, and institutional pest control.

Water: Water is at the heart of all life. Without water, there would be no agriculture. It follows, then, that state and federal water laws, rules, and policies are constantly working to ensure its sustainability and protect the water rights of all citizens. In North Dakota, all water uses must be approved by a water permit before being put to beneficial use. Exceptions apply for domestic, livestock, fish, wildlife, and other recreational activities when their usage is not greater than 12.5 acre-feet per year. Proper procedures are set by North Dakota Century Code (NDCC) regulations.

Because evaluations of this water use application are comprehensive, they may take several months to complete — particularly in areas where water is limited and/or critical. The availability of water may be affected by the size of the water supply, the period of use, the locations of recharge and discharge areas, possible water quality impacts, probable long-term effects on local water supplies, and the source of water (ground or surface).

We cover these areas of agricultural law and many more. Whether your case involves a plot of local land or has become a complicated, international legal matter, we are here to provide you with the best possible legal counsel for your situation. No case—or client—is too big or too small for us to give our top priority to. The skilled attorneys at Germolus Knoll & Leibel, LLP can help you no matter what area of agriculture law you need assistance with.

Experienced North Dakota Agriculture Law Attorney

Agriculture law is a broad, ever-expanding area of law. At Germolus Knoll & Leibel, LLP, our attorneys are experienced in representing a wide variety of contracts and agriculture-related enterprises. We draw on over 60 years of combined legal experience to help you win your case. We work with farmers, ranchers, landowners, lenders, and suppliers in order to ensure your continued success. We are proficient in contract drafting and negotiation, farm leases, land sales, litigation, and more.

We know how to help you maximize your land, whether you are using it for wind energy, oil and gas development, or other agricultural business. We are experienced in consulting our clients on various regulatory actions. We will do everything in our power to fight for you and get you the results you deserve. As a trusted law firm in Bismarck, we care about our clients. We are ready to defend you and your rights so you can get back to focusing on allowing your business to grow. Contact us today to schedule a consultation where we will go over all your rights and possible options so we can find the best way to pursue your case. Let us fight for you.