Agricultural Law

Agricultural Law in the United States

If you want to look at state laws around the nation regarding agriculture, go to the Lawi Project´s Encyclopedia of Law. The beauty of this site, like Cornell, is that it takes you to specific agricultural laws instead of depositing you at a general locale and forcing you to navigate alone.

Agricultural Law Resources

By James Evans (2001), who is the author of Law on the Net and Government on the Net (Nolo Press, Berkeley).

Agricultural law embraces a wide range of fields, including real property, contracts, environmental, wills and estates, tax, and so on. Fortunately, just as farmers turned to computers to aid their businesses, they and those who represent them have moved onto the Internet and provide a host of reliable resources for your benefit.

The United States was once a nation of farmers, and continues to be a global exporter of food, so it’s no surprise that agriculture is heartily represented in the U.S. Code, requiring 103 chapters to handle it all, from Commodity Exchanges and Golden Nematode to Watermelon Research and Promotion and Organic Certification.

The U.S. Code also offers Title 21 Food and Drugs, with pertinent chapters such as Adulterated or Misbranded Foods or Drugs, Animals, Meats, Meat and Dairy Products, and Pesticide Monitoring Improvements.

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) has Title 7, devoted to agriculture and updated as of January 1, 2001. You also may search for specific subtitles and chapters at the CFR homepage (

Continuing on the federal level, the Department of Agriculture ( keeps farmers and environmental activists current on developments around the planet. Check the Agencies, Services & Programs section of the site ( for information about a wide variety of topics. You also may search and browse subjects alphabetically.

In California, the State Code ( offers a current version of the Food and Agricultural Code ( The California Department of Food and Agriculture website ( is superficial, but it does provide statistics ( about agricultural production and exports.

Before moving to the research organizations, several sites that provide collections of agricultural law and related fields need mentioning. Cornell Law School’s Agriculture: An Overview ( has links to the U.S. Code and the Code of Federal Regulations; recent agricultural decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, courts of appeals, and New York Court of Appeals; state statutes; and a short list of germane legal and other sites. Washlaw from Washburn University School of Law has Agricultural Law (, focusing on Kansas and federal resources, and includes references to three online legal discussion groups. FindLaw’s Agriculture Law ( is a well-organized compendium of sites.

Lastly, let’s move to the law schools and other research entities that concentrate on agriculture. The National Center for Agricultural Law Research and Information ( at the University of Arkansas School of Law maintains an agricultural law library filled with essential links. At the Penn State Agricultural Law Research and Education Center website (, the Agricultural Links from the Dickinson School of Law should be your primary destination.

The American Farmland Trust ( is loaded with legal and other material, including farmland-protection fact sheets, full-text literature, laws, maps, and statistics. The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology ( studies food, environmental, and other agricultural issues and interprets that information for legislators, regulators, and the media.

National Library of Education’s Publications and Databases
The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization’s agriculture section
The American Agricultural Law Association

Agricultural Law Traditional Online Sites

This comprendium of sites related to Agricultural Law is an excellent site:

Note: this list is current as of 2009. This explains what the links are to web.archive.

Historical Background


The Law





Government Committees, Departments & Agencies

Government Publications & Databases



Food Stamps & Nutrition Programs



Equine Law

Veterinary Medicine

General Information









Agricultural Law Estate Planning

Some farmers are participating in comprehensive discussions of the major income tax and estate and business planning issues for farms, ranches and agribusinesse. The following are some of these topics:

  • Farm and Farmer Liability
  • Environmental Law Relating to Farms and Sale
  • Agricultural Labor
  • Income Tax and Social Security
  • Estate Planning: Death-Time Transfers
  • Gifts and Federal Gift Tax, Installment Sales and Private Annuities
  • Organizing the Farm Business
  • Life Estates and Trusts
  • Governmental Regulation of Animal Production, Shipment and Sale
  • Governmental Regulation of Crop Production, Shipment and Sale
  • Government Regulation of Agricultural Inputs
  • Government Regulation of Foreign Trade
  • Commercial Law Applicable to Farms and Ranches
  • Agricultural Cooperatives

Other Agricultural law issues

These include:

  • Agricultural Labor Environment Products Liability
  • Adverse Possession Farm Credit System Secured Transactions
  • Animals Federal Agricultural Programs State Regulation of Agriculture
  • Banking Federal Estate and Gift Taxation Veterinarians
  • Bankruptcy Federal Income Taxation Workers’ Compensation
  • Contracts Federal Regulations Zoning
  • Corporations Partnerships

Agricultural Law: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Agricultural Law. This part provides references, in relation to Agricultural Law, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Agricultural Law by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Agricultural Law and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Agricultural Law or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Agricultural Law and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Agricultural Law. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Agricultural Law should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Agricultural Law when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

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