Agriculture and Farm Law
Goldberg Segalla’s Agriculture and Farm Law Practice Group offers farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and others in the agriculture industry the legal support and protection they need to maximize their return on investment while navigating the challenges of supplying a growing, hungry world, both at home and abroad.
Our team is made up of highly experienced litigators and advisors licensed throughout the areas of the United States that offer the greatest production of grain, livestock, and other commodities. We are well positioned to assist farmers, agriculture groups, trade associations, agricultural product manufacturers and distributors, and other related interests in developing, maintaining, and protecting the labor, machinery, processes, and property of the nation’s agricultural community. Our attorneys focus on minimizing the interference and impact of governmental laws and regulations and helping clients address chronic harassment from activist groups.
We bring together the resources of Goldberg Segalla’s Food and Beverage, Product Liability, Class Action Litigation, Environmental, Toxic Torts, Regulatory Compliance, Business and Commercial, Employment and Labor, and other Practice Groups to provide proactive legal and regulatory advice to help minimize the risk of litigation or regulatory action — as well as a strong, integrated defense when disputes arise.
Highlights of our experience include:
- Our team defended the leading manufacturer of Atrazine, a widely used corn and sorghum herbicide, in a series of class action lawsuits in the state and federal courts of Illinois, including the lead case filed in Madison County, Illinois. We also represented a follow-on, generic manufacturer of Atrazine in a companion lawsuit. After 10 years of litigation, the cases settled in 2014.
- Our attorneys have represented multiple deer breeders and hunting preserve owners against aggressive regulatory actions taken by various state agencies upon the discovery of the first cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in captive deer.
- A team of our attorneys serves as legal counsel to a private member-based group dedicated to protecting the constitutional and private property rights of animal breeders and owners and animal-agricultural enterprises.
- We are defending a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) farm against nuisance and trespass claims brought by approximately 175 individual plaintiffs who claim odors and pollution from the farm have damaged property and negatively impacted use and enjoyment of their residential properties and property values.
- One of our lawyers defended an agricultural chemical manufacturer in a lawsuit alleging that chemical drift from aerial spraying of the company’s product caused bodily injury and property damage, serious bodily injury to the property owner, a fish kill, and injuries to livestock and pets. Based on our argument that the suit was barred under the doctrine of federal preemption, the case was dismissed and no damages were awarded to the plaintiff.
- In 2012, members of our team were asked by a farm trade association to render a legal opinion regarding the constitutionality of an unscrupulous initiative proposed by out-of-state NGO activists who sought to alter the ability of a state legislature to modify legislation that had become law through the referendum and initiative process. Faced with our firm’s legal opinion, the proponents ultimately withdrew their campaign and ceased efforts to place the initiative on the ballot.
- We helped prepare a client for and attended numerous U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) meetings in Washington, D.C., to address various issues and studies regarding triazine herbicides. We assisted in the drafting and revision of scientific presentations by the client, engaged in numerous mock sessions of hearings with the client, prepared client representatives for media interviews, drafted and revised media statements, assisted industry trade organization representatives with written and oral comments presented to SAP panels, and conducted debriefings with the client each day after the hearings.
- We achieved dismissal of claims brought by the USEPA against an individual landowner in an investigation regarding the sale of allegedly contaminated gravel to a Missouri county for use in road repair, as well as the excavation of the gravel from the landowner's own property.
- Our team represented a major agricultural chemical manufacturer in the sale of its agricultural research facility in Illinois to private parties.
- We represented an agricultural chemical manufacturer in several efficacy claims brought by orchard growers claiming damage to crops and property from the application of crop protection products.
- We assisted in the preparation of a proprietary, client-maintained, searchable database of all scientific studies and articles ever written regarding a certain class of crop protection products for use in defending both regulatory and litigation claims regarding those products.
- Members of our team have assisted a major agricultural chemical company prepare for and present testimony at local, state, and federal regulatory and governmental hearings.
- Our attorneys assisted in the drafting, editing, and rollout of a litigation-driven website regarding an agricultural chemical company’s flagship product to present the client’s position regarding its efficacy and safety to counter negative activist, NGO, and plaintiff internet and media claims.
- We represented numerous growers and landowners in Idaho against claims of respiratory and personal injury and death due to the burn-down of thousands of acres of Kentucky bluegrass fields following harvest.
- Since the mid-1980s, members of our team have represented a wide variety and number of potentially responsible parties (PRPs) and landfill and hazardous waste site owners at various federal National Priority Listed (NPL) and state cleanup sites in both regulatory proceedings and litigation across the country.