We’ve developed a series of workshops and training sessions designed to introduce farmers to the broad range of agriculture laws that confer both unique advantages and obligations to agricultural producers. We’ve partnered with major nonprofits to provide practical legal training to new and beginning farmers across the country, and our curriculum is also designed to accommodate federal and state risk management grants.

The Basic Legal Course for Farmers is a workshop series designed to acquaint new and beginning farmers with the legal landscape of the agriculture industry. Throughout this series of workshops, attendees will be introduced to the legal tools that can help them get paid, limit their liability, and help them manage commercial risk. New and beginning farmers will be empowered to play a robust role in their own legal risk management, but will also learn the limits of self-help. Courses will cover contracts, employment law, agriculture leases, and farmer-friendly laws that provide special benefits to producers.

“Jason’s session for Arcadia’s Veteran Farmers was info packed, easy to digest, and fun to listen to. He’s incredibly squared away, and was extremely accommodating to our schedule and easy to coordinate with. I highly recommend him.”

Pamela Hess, Executive Director Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture


The written word is a powerful risk mitigation tool. Clear and concise contracts, properly executed, can mitigate a host of business risks. Good contracts can guarantee a sale price in commercial deals, define the employment relationships, or allocate critical liabilities up and down supply chains.

Workshop Objective: Understand the basic components of contracts; identify the commercial, labor, and product liability risks can be mitigated through agreements.

This is the keystone course in the series. Liabilities associated with legal risks identified in subsequent workshops will be primarily mitigated by legal agreement.

Employment and Labor

Individuals who come onto a for-profit farm business to perform work can either be classified as employees, independent contractors, or interns. Understanding what makes these three classifications distinct are critical to managing the risks of employment liability. Failure to maintain the distinctions could mean severe fines and penalties by federal or state department of labor.

Workshop Objectives: Understand the different employment classifications; learn how to effectively utilize employment classification on the farm.

Product Liability and Risk Management

All farmers must realize that, from a legal perspective, they operate in a zero-tolerance environment. The legal doctrine of “strict liability” applies to any business that grows or processes food. This is the highest standard of liability that the law can impose, and this risk should be the primary consideration for virtually every decision made in production agriculture.

Workshop Objectives: Understand the concept of strict liability; identify the sources of liability on a farm; how to mitigate risk using food safety guidance, contracts, and insurance.

Leasing Farmland

An estimated 45% of farmland in the United States is leased. With land values at an all-time high, new and beginning farmers in particular rely on leased land to build their businesses. Access to farmland is too important to be made on hand-shake deals. Crisply drafted leases can guarantee access to land without testing the patience of the average landlord.

Workshop Objectives: Identify the basic components of lease agreements, in general; identifying what is important about your land that should be included in your lease agreement.

Farmer Friendly Law

There are some fantastic, powerful laws enacted purely for the benefit of farmers. Some laws like the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act or the Packers and Stockyards Act can help get farmers paid on time. Various state laws exempt farmers from nuisance suits brought by non-farmer neighbors. Farming is a tough business, but these laws and others like them make the difficult job a little easier.

Course Objectives: A survey of farmer friendly laws; integrating farmer friendly laws into your business practices.

Contact us to customize the Basic Legal Course for Farmers as a workshop or webinar series for your organization:

Contact us

“As an instructor, Jason is funny, engaging, and communicative. He makes the legalities of owning and operating a food business approach able and diligently answers every question. I look forward to
another workshop from Jason!”

Mary Ann Johnson, Program Director Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation