Agribusiness Law

Jennings Strouss offers a full range of legal services for Arizona’s farmers and ranchers. These services include business planning and formation, estate planning, real estate acquisition and leasing, and FSA program compliance. The firm also has extensive experience in the fields of agribusiness litigation, land use and regulatory compliance, secured lending and water rights. With our rich history and diverse practice areas, Jennings Strouss is uniquely qualified to meet the needs of today’s agricultural producers.

Business Formation and Tax Planning

Our attorneys provide strategic advice on how to structure your business to preserve assets and manage risk. This includes the use of limited liability entities to separate operational risk from ownership of real property, crops and equipment. We also advise on tax and estate planning to preserve wealth and facilitate the inter-generational transfer of family farming operations.

FSA Commodity Program Compliance

Our firm has unique expertise in structuring farming entities and operations to ensure compliance with USDA Farm Service Agency crop subsidy program requirements. Our services in this area include advice to agricultural producers regarding the complex business and financial requirements of the FSA Handbook. They also include advice on FSA requirements for being “actively engaged in farming” and applicable payment limitations. We also provide advice regarding FSA conservation programs.

Real Estate Acquisition and Leasing

Jennings Strouss has extensive experience in the acquisition, development and disposition of agricultural properties. Our experience includes negotiating and documenting contracts for the purchase or sale of farm land and cattle ranches, resolving survey and title-related problems, overseeing environmental due diligence and securing governmental and regulatory approvals. We also have extensive experience representing lenders and borrowers in complex financing transactions, handling 1031 exchanges and reverse exchanges, and negotiating and documenting leases of both public and private lands.

Land Use and Regulatory Compliance

The lawyers at Jennings Strouss have broad experience advising clients and handling claims involving the management and use of farm land and ranches. This includes condemnation actions, zoning disputes and other land use regulation. We also have extensive experience consulting with clients and litigating claims relating to roadway easements and rights-of-way. The firm also provides agricultural clients with a depth of experience in regulatory compliance, including state pesticide laws and regulations, environmental compliance and food safety issues.

Litigation

Jennings Strouss has a strong team of commercial litigation attorneys with decades of experience representing the interests of Arizona crop farmers, dairy farmers and cattle ranchers. Our expertise includes negotiating and documenting the settlement of complex disputes, and safeguarding the interests of agricultural clients through mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

When agribusiness disputes cannot be resolved, our experienced trial attorneys provide aggressive and cost-effective representation through case preparation, pleading, discovery and trial. Our firm’s litigation experience includes hundreds of jury and bench trials in both state and federal courts. The firm also represents both plaintiffs and defendants in the state and federal appellate courts.

Our litigation services include the arbitration of complex commercial disputes, real estate and contract disputes, crop damage claims and quality disputes, and labor and employment litigation. We also litigate claims for provisional remedies, including temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, forcible entry and detainer claims, attachment, garnishment and replevin.

Our litigation attorneys also represent clients before administrative agencies at all levels of government, including federal agencies such as the IRS, EEOC, EPA and OSHA, state and county agencies such as the Department of Environmental Quality and the Flood Control District of Maricopa County, and municipal agencies such as city tax departments and planning and zoning authorities.

Bankruptcy and Creditors' Rights

The lawyers at Jennings Strouss are recognized leaders in the field of business restructuring and reorganization. Our attorneys have represented numerous agricultural clients throughout the State in complex insolvency-related litigation and workouts from both the creditor and debtor perspective. The firm has also structured numerous asset acquisitions in bankruptcy cases and has frequently represented agricultural clients purchasing assets from bankruptcy estates. We are also experienced in representing the rights and interests of lenders and secured parties.

Crop Insurance Claims

The firm has unique experience representing the interests of agricultural producers litigating disputed claims made under the terms of multi-peril crop insurance policies. We have successfully handled claims against federally-reinsured crop insurance providers under both Actual Production History and Crop Revenue Coverage policies. We have also been successful in the handling of good farming practice appeals to the USDA Risk Management Agency.

Water Rights

We also represent the interests of Arizona farmers and ranchers in the acquisition, protection and transfer of agricultural water rights. This includes advice and transactions regarding appropriative rights in surface flows and groundwater rights under Arizona’s Groundwater Management Code. We handle the transfer of grandfathered rights and represent water users in their dealings with the Arizona Department of Water Resources. We also represent irrigation companies and canal operators.

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