OUR SERVICES

We provide our agriculture clients with a full complement of legal services to assist with the varying needs as the seasons change:



Preparation

Entity Selection and General Corporate

How you set up your farm or agriculture operation can have a lasting impact on how you do business. We will help you in all stages of the life cycle, from selecting and structuring an appropriate entity, to raising capital to support the entity’s growth, to executing a successful exit strategy or transfer of control to the next generation of the family owners.

Environmental Compliance

Environmental regulations from at the federal and state level have a lasting impact on agricultural operations. Whether you need assistance with issues around the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, underground storage tanks, the handling of solid and hazardous waste or compliance pesticide and herbicide regulations, Vorys stands ready to assist.

Estate Planning & Succession Planning

Ensuring that your agricultural operation is ready for the next generation is critical. Vorys provides a full range of estate planning services designed to meet your personal, economic and tax planning goals. Our basic estate planning services include preparing wills, revocable trusts, financial powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney and living wills. Our lawyers also specialize in succession planning for owners of farms and agricultural operations, including inter-generational strategies to transfer wealth and control.



Grow

Financing

Agriculture is big business, whether a family farm or an agricultural services provider, operations require significant cash flow to maintain and grow. We negotiate, prepare, and review numerous forms of loan and financing documentation, including credit facilities for working capital, long-term, and acquisition purposes. We also advise our corporate clients in all types of real estate financing and leasing as well as equipment leasing.

Economic & Tax Incentives

Local, state and federal economic development incentives can assist agricultural operations in expanding and even to help fund new construction projects. Our work spans the nation, having consulted on incentives deals in more than 30 states, for organizations of all sizes. Vorys is at the forefront of the new Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) program, a part of federal tax reform, which ultimately may provide agricultural producers to take advantage of a new potential source of capital for their businesses and real estate developments located in QOZs

Real Estate

Real estate is critical to most farmers and agricultural producers and Vorys has deep experience assisting clients with the litany of real estate projects, such as financing, acquisition, sales, zoning, land use, construction, development and leasing. We also assist our agriculture clients with property management agreements, title issues and issues surrounding jointly-owned farm property. We advise clients on farm property designated as “agricultural district,” including on the reasons for and against designating farm land as an agricultural district and advising on the risks and penalties for taking property out of agricultural district designation.



Harvest

Contracts & Commercial Agreements

In the agriculture world, products and services are produced, bought, sold, leased, licensed, delivered, and inspected on a daily basis. All of these transactions involve some form of contract - whether written or oral, express or implied - between the parties to the transactions. We help you ensure your contracts meet your expectations, maximize efficiency, minimize cost, and appropriately address and allocate risk. Our lawyers learn your businesses, expectations, and desired outcomes, strategize with you on methods to achieve the most advantageous contract terms, and help complete the contracting process so that you and other contracting parties have a clear, unambiguous understanding of their rights and obligations. We can provide you with contract counsel on the entire realm of contracts, including those related to government subsidies and set-aside programs.

Eminent Domain

We have significant experience representing farmers in cases all over the state when the government uses its power to take farmland through eminent domain related to road projects, flooding, pipelines and utility easements. Our team understands the tactics of governments at municipal, county, state and federal levels and knows exactly what to expect.

We’ve represented farmers in numerous matters including: 

  • When a farmer turned to Vorys, after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources offered our client only $220,000. We took the matter to a jury trial and won nearly six times what was originally offered. 

  • When ODOT constructed a limited-access highway that bisected our client’s farm, the jury awarded our client more than $625,000 above the State’s “good faith” offer. 

  • When Franklin County implemented a road-realignment project that took the corner frontage of our client’s farm, Vorys was able to negotiate a settlement on behalf of our client for more than $800,000 above Franklin County’s initial offer.

Taxation

Whether you are dealing with the tax treatment of real estate transfers, the valuation of your real property, public utility tax or business income tax, you can count on the lawyers at Vorys to protect your interests. Our lawyers focus on working to identify and implement planning opportunities, to explain tax consequences, and to develop appropriate approaches to state and local tax issues. When disputes arise, our attorneys vigorously defend our clients in tax audits and seek to develop creative approaches to resolving tax disputes.



Maintenance

Labor & Employment

Agricultural operation owners and managers are the first line of defense against exposure to often-times costly employment litigation. We assist companies and managers in anticipating and preventing employee relations problems through education, training and counseling. We also assist our agricultural clients in preparing and implementing personnel policies designed to minimize potential liability and establish best practices. We offer strong experience in Ohio workers’ compensation, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and all claims against employers related to the physical and mental health of employees. We also draft employment manuals, drug and alcohol testing policies, and other documents regulating the workplace, and we provide training so that our clients’ supervisors and managers act in ways that comply with the law. We help our clients to create, implement, and amend employee benefit plans and we assist our clients in securing employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visas for their workforce.

Intellectual Property

Vorys offers a full suite of intellectual property services that focus on the needs of farmers and agricultural operators. From trademarking names and logos to assisting with patents related to processing, development, production and packaging, our team will guide you through the complex strategic planning, sensitive negotiations, and other important details of intellectual property protection. We also work with the creators of intellectual property to ensure that their efforts do not infringe the rights of others.

Litigation

Vorys has the experience to assist agricultural operators in every imaginable kind of dispute, whether it’s related to business agreements, nuisance issues, ownership of abandoned railroad corridors, utility easements or licenses, adverse possession, personal injury, environmental, employment, construction water/flooding and other business/property disputes or losses.

Appellate

Vorys regularly monitors agriculture-related litigation in appellate courts across the country to ensure that we, and our clients, are knowledgeable about important new developments in agriculture law. In addition to successfully litigating appeals from our own cases, Vorys has filed amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs on behalf of clients in state courts, including the Supreme Court of Ohio, and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States, to ensure that the interests of our agriculture clients are fully considered and represented in key cases.

Bankruptcy

Whether your operation, or your suppliers or customers, are facing financial difficulties, the Vorys bankruptcy team can assist. We can provide agricultural operations with guidance on in-court and out-of-court debt restructurings, asset protection and recovery, and debtor/creditor matters.

OUR WORK

We understand the complexities intertwined in agriculture and the law. Below are some examples of how we’ve assisted our clients.

  • Drafting an Amicus Brief for the Ohio Farm Bureau in support of farmers' rights and against punitive state eminent domain laws. This brief, submitted for Knick v. Township of Scott, Pa., was the first time in its nearly 100 year history that the organization participated in a case before the Supreme Court of the United States. 
     
  • Representing an agribusiness in connection with its site selection and development of a 600-acre processing facility. We’ve provided consultation and strategy relative to the site selection process; preparation of option agreements for multiple parcels of land with contingency for simultaneous options and closings, together with all supplementary activities relating to site selection, land acquisition and development; acquisition of options for properties comprising sites and coordination of all such options; preparation of system for evaluation and analysis of each site, including the creation of reference binders for each site relating to location, acreage, site-specific information, transportation, labor force, strategy relative to geographical aspects, local community facts and profiles; and participation in various site visits and negotiations with property owners, representatives of local political subdivisions, community improvement corporations, and port authority. 
     
  • Representing a farmer in an eminent domain case. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources offered our client only $220,000. We took the matter to a jury trial and won nearly six times what was originally offered. 
     
  • Representing – for more than 80 years – an Ohio agricultural cooperative, which provides livestock marketing and other agricultural services to its members and others in numerous states. Our work involves various contract matters, including livestock marketing agreements, acquisition and sale agreements and leases. We also assist with financing transactions and address corporate issues unique to our client’s status as a cooperative. In addition, we handle the cooperative’s employment, litigation and collection matters. 

  • Assisting an agriculture finance company in development forms of loan documents, complex loan transactions and the participation of its various loan products. 
     
  • Representing an agricultural commodities trader and several food processor/distributors in Ohio commercial activity tax (CAT) appeals that involve the CAT statute that sets forth how taxpayers are to situs their sales; before the Ohio Department of Taxation’s tax appeals division as well as the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals; in sales and use tax audit defense and planning with respect to their wholesale and retail food preparation and logistics operations; and real property tax valuation matters for food processing/storage facilities. 
     
  • Representing a large hog farm facility in Ohio on environmental issues including spray irrigation, manure spill and genetic testing program. 
     
  • Assisting multiple agricultural and food product clients with intellectual property matters, including international trademark portfolio management, litigation and disputes, licensing and counseling regarding a variety of trademark, copyright and branding matters. 
     
  • Service as lead defense counsel in multidistrict litigation (with claims originally asserted in California, Wisconsin, Kansas, Vermont and Florida, transferred to Idaho) involving claims under the Sherman Act and various state antitrust laws claiming that conduct by potato growers and our client (a processor) violated the antitrust laws by reducing the supply of raw potatoes. 
     
  • Assisting an organic farming operations in obtaining a J-1 visa for a Costa Rican to receive training in connection with U.S. organic farming practices. 
     
  • Representing multiple agricultural and food products companies in financings that involve the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act and the Food Security Act of 1985. 
     
  • Assisting multiple clients with farm lease (cash rent) agreements. 
     
  • Restructuring of existing farm businesses, including advising clients on multiple real estate related issues such as title insurance, EPA and environmental conditions of the property, property management agreements, tax treatment and farm subsidy programs, and jointly owned farm property. 
     
  • Advising clients on farm property designated as “agricultural district,” including on the reasons for and against designating farm land as an agricultural district and advising on the risks and penalties for taking property out of agricultural district designation. 
     
  • Reviewing wind turbine and solar panel leases for landowners. 
     
  • Preparing leases to permit clients to use land owners’ property as a stockyard. 
     
  • Preparing agreements granting rights to cut timber and easements for ingress and egress of farm equipment.

PRACTICE CONTACTS

Everything Agriculture

We know your agriculture operation is not just about the commodities markets, yields and the bottom line. It's your livelihood, your family and your passion. We represent livestock and crop farmers, agricultural producers, food processors and their suppliers, as well as those involved in agritourism. We understand the agriculture business, industry, science and economics, and we help agricultural operations grow and succeed.

Contact Us for a Free ConsultationOur ServicesOur WorkOur Contacts

Our Services

We provide our agriculture clients with a full complement of legal services to assist with the varying needs as the seasons change.

Our Work

We understand the complexities intertwined in agriculture and the law. Below are some examples of how we’ve assisted our clients.

Our Team

Need text

Thomas H. Fusonie

Partner

614.464.8261
thfusonie@vorys.com

View biography.

Daniel E. Shuey

Partner

614.464.8277
deshuey@vorys.com

View biography.

Contact us for a free consultation.

As an agricultural operator, you have many issues to contend with, let the agricultural attorneys at Vorys assist you. Contact us for a free consultation by calling 833-525-2099 or completing the form below.

© 2018 Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP    Disclaimer | Privacy Policy

Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

We know your agriculture operation is not just about the commodities markets, yields and the bottom line. It's your livelihood, your family and your passion. We represent livestock and crop farmers, agricultural producers, food processors and their suppliers, as well as those involved in agritourism. We understand the agriculture business, industry, science and economics, and we help agricultural operations grow and succeed.

Everything Agriculture

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

PRACTICE CONTACTS

Thomas H. Fusonie

Partner

614.464.8261
thfusonie@vorys.com

View biography.

Daniel E. Shuey

Partner

614.464.8277
deshuey@vorys.com

View biography.

Everything Agriculture

Our ContactsOur WorkOur ServicesBack to TopBack to TopBack to TopBack to TopOur InsightsAg Industry Professionals

OUR INSIGHTS

11/27/2018 | Nuisance lawsuits may threaten livestock farmers

Vorys attorneys Tom Fusonie, Dan Shuey and Andrew Guran co-authored an article for Farm and Dairy titled “Nuisance lawsuits may threaten livestock farmers.” Read more.

1/29/18 | Happy New Year – It’s Time to Review Your Estate Plan

If you have not looked at your estate plan recently, it’s time to do so. Read more..

Back to TopMore InsightsBack to TopAg Industry Professionals

OUR INSIGHTS

8/1/2018 | Considerations When Faced With Eminent Domain

Vorys attorneys Tom Fusonie, Suzanne Galyardt, and Jeff Miller co-authored an article for Ohio Farmer titled “Considerations When Faced With Eminent Domain.” Read more.

Our Insights

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10/22/2018 | Wage and Hour Issues for Agricultural Employers

In this Client Alert, we provide general information concerning the application of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to agricultural employment Read more.