Farmers are our country’s oldest and largest producers. From raw materials to food, the work farmers do is vitally important to our country’s economy and security. Agricultural production typically only involves the services of attorneys in setting up the business entity or for other transactional work for farmers. Occasionally, however, farmers will need the help of an agriculture litigation attorney.
Below are a few of the reasons.
Systemic Equipment Failure
One of the most important and most expensive parts of a farming operation is the farming equipment.
Most new farm equipment comes with a warranty, usually from one to three years. Setup of the farm equipment is also included in the sale of new equipment and is equally important to farmers. When equipment is not setup correctly by the dealership, or when equipment continues to malfunction without adequate repair, farmers’ suffer severely.
The inability to plant or to harvest a crop because of the failure of equipment can be financially devastating to a farmer. When this expensive equipment is defective and not properly and timely fixed, the consequences can be ruinous for a farmer. Farmers have a remedy often against the manufacturer and dealership for breach of warranty, breach of contract, negligence, and sometimes fraud for misleading farmers about the ability of certain equipment to perform certain tasks. While many companies try to limit the amount of damage that can be recovered by a farmer with bad equipment, the law in Alabama allows for farmers to recover their full damages in certain situations.
Crop or Live Animal Failure
Farmers have to rely on others to do their jobs to make their crops and animals produce as intended. Unfortunately, sometimes others don’t uphold their responsibilities, and farmers can suffer.
Crop failure from bad seed, crop failure from herbicide drift from another farm, animal failure to thrive from bad feed or poor farm conditions are a few examples. While most farmers control their own farm conditions, often live animal breeders and growers rely on the large companies they grow for to provide certain materials to them. In fact, most grower contracts do not allow farmers to do anything without the consent of the company they grow for. When the neglect of someone else leaves farmers without the production they expected, they can end up in a difficult financial situation. There are remedies available at law for the negligence, breach of contract, breach of warranty, and fraud of others who financially harm farmers.
Genetically Modified Organisms
GMOs have done substantial harm to farmers over the last 25 years. Genetically modified crops are becoming increasingly popular and are being pushed by chemical companies that make them resist the herbicides the companies make.
Unfortunately, many countries around the world do not want (and even forbid) GMO crops. Varieties of crops naturally spread from field to field, and when GMO varieties that are not marketable to all markets get out, as they very often do, they are extremely difficult to contain. The result for farmers of these crops is a sizable drop in the market price for their crops because large portions of the world refuse to accept U.S. crops that may be contaminated with GMOs. Farmers that have grown wheat, corn, and rice, among others, have suffered substantial losses and have been able to recover over the past several years because chemical companies have allowed GMO plants to get into the U.S. supply chain.