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Agri-Business

Agriculture in Michigan is strong—it is our state's number two industry, employing more than 900,000 people and contributing over $100 billion to our state's economy.  Michigan farms produce diverse commodities ranging from tart cherries, blueberries, and dairy products, to dry edible beans, corn, and sugar beets, to begonias, poultry and eggs, and cucumbers.  Farmers, agronomists, farm loan officers, insurance agents, pesticide applicators, nursery operators, food processors, grain handlers, truck drivers, equipment dealers, veterinarians, scientists, and many more agribusiness people all play an important role in the Michigan agriculture economy.

Because of the scale and diversity of agriculture in Michigan, many different and complicated legal issues arise day-to-day.  Farmers and agribusiness people need help from attorneys that understand the business of Michigan agriculture as well as the laws that apply to the industry.  Foster Swift has been privileged to serve the Michigan agriculture community for years, and we bring our experience and industry commitment to our representation.

Experience. Foster Swift attorneys serve as counsel for all sizes and types of farm and agricultural organizations including the largest general farm association and the principal commodity marketing cooperatives in Michigan.  We understand the special considerations that are needed when dealing with family business issues.  Plus, as a full-service law firm with nearly 100 attorneys, we have immediate access to subject matter experts on virtually any area of business law or litigation.

Stability. The majority of our farm clients have been with us for decades as we stay abreast of the changing needs of their operation and assist them in proactively addressing their legal challenges.  Our clients and friends receive our Agricultural Law Update, an agriculture-specific newsletter we frequently publish containing information about changes in the law, important judicial decisions, and events that are of interest to farmers and agribusiness people.  Please click here if you would like to receive the Agricultural Law Update.

Commitment. Many of our attorneys and staff grew up in the agricultural industry and are personally invested in the advancement of agriculture.  We enjoy giving back to the agriculture community we serve.  Foster Swift is a proud sponsor of the Michigan FFA Foundation, a repeat buyer at the Ingham County Fair auction and Michigan Livestock Expo Sale-abration, and a sponsor of many conferences and events related to agriculture in our state.  In summer 2012, our attorneys helped create the new Agricultural Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and our attorneys have held leadership roles in that organization since its formation.    

LEGAL SERVICES

Many of Michigan’s most established farmers and ag-related organizations retain Foster Swift attorneys to assist with:

Business and Organization Planning

  • Buy-sell agreements
  • Entity selection and formation
  • Federal and state farm rebate programs
  • Federal and state marketing
  • Intellectual Property
  • Lease agreements
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Management succession

Construction

  • Contracts
  • Liens
  • Bonds
  • Claims & Arbitration

Energy

  • Methane Digesters
  • Solar Energy
  • Wind Turbines/Farms

Environmental Matters

  • Manure management
  • MDEQ compliance
  • Water runoff
  • Wetlands regulations

Equine Law

Estate Planning

  • Estate tax planning
  • Gift transactions
  • Preserving the family farm
  • Succession planning

Insurance

  • Coverage disputes
  • Liability defense

International Business & Trade

  • Acquisitions
  • Distributor agreements
  • Exporting
  • Importing
  • Joint ventures
  • Licensing agreements

Labor and Employment

  • Deferred compensation
  • Employment policy handbooks
  • Employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs)
  • Immigration
  • OSHA and MIOSHA
  • Profit sharing/pension planning

Litigation & Regulatory

  • Contract & business disputes
  • FDA, EPA and MDEQ violations
  • Liability defense
  • Mediation services
  • Right to Farm

Real Estate and Construction Matters

  • Farm land preservation
  • Land purchases
  • Master plans, site, construction and expansion issues
  • Oil and gas leases
  • Zoning and land use

Tax

  • Federal and state tax planning
  • P.A. 116
  • Property tax appeals

Transportation Law

REPRESENTATIVE CLIENTS

  • Agricultural cooperatives
  • Agricultural machinery dealers
  • Beef, dairy, hog, poultry & cash crop farms
  • Chemical & fertilizer manufacturers & suppliers
  • Family farms
  • Fruit & vegetable producers
  • Grain elevators
  • Insurance companies
  • Michigan agricultural trade associations
  • Specialty farms & product manufacturers

REPRESENTATIVE experience

  • Represented a livestock insurer in securing dismissal of a coverage lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
  • Defended horse owners in a lawsuit brought by their injured horse trainer by securing dismissal through a motion for summary judgment.
  • Defended equestrian lesson training facility in a lawsuit brought by injured visitor by securing dismissal through a motion for summary judgment
  • Successfully represented horse owners in business, contract and defamation dispute, including a nine-day trial 

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