Legal Resources for Farmers

By Lee Rinehart, NCAT Agriculture Specialist

“On any type of farm or ranch, there may be times when problems are serious enough and the stakes high enough that farmers need legal advice. An experienced attorney should be able to explain how the laws affect a farmer’s individual situation, give legal advice on which choices best fit the farmer’s goals, draft the legal papers needed and, if necessary, represent the farmer in court, mediation, arbitration, or other proceedings intended to resolve disputes.” – Scott Carlson, Esq., Farmers’ Legal Action Group

“The best advice for new farmers is to treat your farm like a business. Every business should have its own accountant, its own specialized consultants and especially its own legal counsel. As a business entity, every agricultural enterprise needs a dedicated legal advisor to provide reliable counsel on the areas of law that would apply to any other business.” – Jason Foscolo, founding attorney of Jason Foscolo LLC, Veteran Careers in Agriculture: A Resource Guide, Farmer Veteran Coalition

Farmers can encounter a variety of issues requiring legal advice. The following list identifies some common categories and offers useful resources:

Business Organization and Management

Farmland Transitions



Direct Marketing

Contracts and Leases



Pesticide Application

Food Safety

Food Labels

Right to Farm

Carbon Markets

Crop Insurance

Foreclosure and Bankruptcy



Civil Disputes

Fence Statutes

  • Fence Law, National Agricultural Law Center

Landowner Liability

Further Resources

Legal Resources for Farmers
By Lee Rinehart, NCAT Agriculture Specialist
Published April 2023
IP642, Slot 681

This publication is produced by the National Center for Appropriate Technology through the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program, under a cooperative agreement with USDA Rural Development. ATTRA.NCAT.ORG. This publication was also made possible in part by funding from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN), projects 2019-70028-30464 and 2020-70028-32729.