Agricultural Law / Farm & Ranch Law
The San Joaquin Valley is the breadbasket of the United States, so it stands to reason that several of the firm's lawyers devote a substantial portion of their practices to agricultural issues of all kinds. Some have considerable personal experience in agribusiness.
- Planning and consulting concerning leases, farm management agreements, packing agreements, marketing agreements, grower agreements, crop financing, joint ventures, loan workouts and regulatory compliance.
- Representation of packers, cooperatives, processors, shippers, lenders and growers in all aspects of agriculture.
Tax and Estate Planning
Our lawyers have been successful counsel in significant court cases concerning the taxation of agriculture. These include Zaninovich v. Commissioner (9th Cir. 1980) 616 F.2d 429 [cash basis farmer's payment of farm rental attributable to following tax year held deductible in the year paid];Rojas v. Commissioner (9th Cir. 1990) 901 F.2d 801 [cash basis corporation's crop costs deductible in year of its liquidation even though crops had not been harvested]; Giannini Packing Corporation v. Commissioner (1984) 83 T.C. 526 [agricultural cold storage facility held eligible for the investment tax credit]; and Estate of Frazier v. Commissioner (9th Cir. 2003) 2003-2 U.S.T.C. 60,473 [almond and walnut processing facilities built at the tenant’s cost on leased property were not includable in the landlord’s estate for estate tax purposes].
The Labor Relations Practice Group represents management in labor disputes and provides counseling and guidance on labor relations and compliance issues in both public and private sector employment. Our practice includes:
- Developing management strategies and proactive plans to maintain positive labor relations and prevent vulnerability to union organizing
- Defense of unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board, Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and Public Employment Relations Board
- Counter-organizing campaigns, including pre-election hearings
- Brand protection and response to corporate campaigns, picketing , and strikes
- Collective bargaining negotiations
- Employment contracts
- Grievance and arbitration defense
- Employee handbook and internal policy drafting and review
- Supervisor training
- Payroll, Safety, and Human Resource audits
- Employee opinion polling
- Counseling on wage and hour compliance, disciplinary compliance, and workplace investigations
- Counseling on workers’ compensation claims management and disability issues, including managing modified work and return to work
Ag Law and Crop Loss
McCormick, Barstow’s central location in the heart of the richest agricultural region in the world, the San Joaquin Valley, places the firm and its attorneys in a unique position to provide assistance to clients in the areas of agricultural law and crop loss litigation. Our attorneys have actively and successfully litigated matters involving herbicide exposure, chemical spray drift, crop insurance coverage disputes, and all manner of general crop loss and agricultural litigation. Our physical location in areas immediately adjacent to those involved in crop production allow us to respond in an expedited manner to reports of potential agricultural law claims or crop losses. We have a long history of identifying and retaining the most qualified experts in the particular crops at issue, and our expertise in this regard allows us to team the right lawyer with the right expert and get our team into the field very soon after a potential loss is reported. Our experience has shown that prompt investigation and analysis often makes the difference between a successful outcome in litigation and a large settlement. In addition to crop loss litigation, our attorneys in this area also handle all manner of agricultural claims, including the defense of personal injury actions arising out of farm worker transportation, movement of equipment in field and on public roads, and contaminated food product or chemical claims. Our attorneys also have expertise in litigating payment disputes over agricultural commodities. We have successfully prosecuted and defended state and federal court collection actions as well as prosecuted and defended PACA claims before the United States Department of Agriculture.