Farm Aid Resource Guide for Legal Issues in Farming

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Photo: Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Since Farm Aid’s inception in 1985, we’ve made farmers understanding their legal rights and access to legal services a priority. The resources below provide both services and information for a wide variety of agricultural legal issues.

Updated Spring 2016.

FARMERS’ LEGAL ACTION GROUP

In the summer of 1985, Jim Massey received a phone call from Willie Nelson inviting him to attend the first Farm Aid concert. By the next spring, the first funding check from Farm Aid arrived in Jim’s office, signed by Willie Nelson himself, to start a nonprofit law firm with a single mission: Help family farmers stay on their land. It was an investment that helped create Farmers’ Legal Action Group, Inc.—FLAG.

FLAG offers comprehensive and practical resources for farmers on the following topics:

Advocacy | Alternative Energy | Appeals | Biotechnology/GMOs | Civil Rights | Conservation |Contracts | Credit | Disaster/Risk Management | Estate Planning | Farm Bill | Farmland Preservation | Food Safety | Labor and Employment | Marketing | Organic/Sustainable Farming |Tax

To speak with a lawyer, call the FLAG office at 651-223-5400. Let them know you heard about them from Farm Aid.

FARM-TO-CONSUMER LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund protects family farmers through legal counseling, lobbying and litigation.

FARM AND FOOD LEGAL RESOURCES

Farm and Food Legal Resources is a collection of online, existing legal resources compiled and organized by the Center for Agriculture & Food Systems at Vermont Law School. Resources are available for Farmers and Ranchers, Food Entrepreneurs, Attorneys and Advocates, Health Professionals, and Consumers.

PENNSYLVANIA STATE AGRICULTURAL LAW RESOURCE & REFERENCE CENTER

While the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center does not provide legal services or advice, its website contains links to informative videos and articles on current topics in agricultural law:

“Ag-Gag” Laws/Farm Protection Laws | Antimicrobial Resistance | Agricultural Labor | Animal Identification | Animal Welfare | Biofuels | Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) | Chesapeake Bay | Climate Change | Country of Origin Labeling | Farm Bill | Food Safety | Food Security | GMO Labeling | Marcellus Shale Resource Area | Raw Milk | Urban Chickens | WTO/Doha Round Trade Talks

DRAKE UNIVERSITY AGRICULTURAL LAW CENTER

The Drake University Agricultural Law Center publishes the only legal journal in the country that only focuses on agriculture. The Ag Law Center archives articles from this journal on its website. The site also contains an educational tool dedicated to manure agreement decision-making.

FARM COMMONS

Farm Commons provides business legal services to farmers, creates useful legal education resources, and educates attorneys on issues relating to community-based farmers around the country. Through the Resources link, Farm Commons provides educational information focusing on different issues:

Land Use | Workers/Employees | Insurance and Liability | Sales and Contracts | Food Safety |Business Transfer | Tax

AGRICULTURAL MEDIATION SERVICES

Mediation acts as a free or low-cost alternative to pursuing legal action, particularly in cases against the USDA and its associated agencies. Most states have Agriculture Mediation Programs in place for farmers. To find out more about mediation and to find out if a program is available in your state, visit this Resource Spotlight blog post for an in-depth look at mediation services.

THE PUBLIC JUSTICE FOOD PROJECT

The Public Justice Food Project is the only legal project in the country that is focused solely on dismantling the structures that enable the consolidation of corporate power and extractive practices in our food system and supporting a vision of animal agriculture that is regenerative, humane, and owned by independent farmers.


Not finding what you need? Request one-on-one assistance from our Farmer Services team, by filling out our Online Request for Assistance form or by calling 1-800-FARM-AID (1-800-327-6243). Farm Aid staff are happy to listen and help you however we can.

Also check out our Online Directory of farm service organizations and Farmer Hero stories for additional inspiration and ideas.

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