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Agriculture

Overview

With years of experience helping agricultural businesses thrive, we understand the unique legal, commercial and regulatory concerns that arise from growing, processing and distributing food and fiber. 

Knowledge from the roots up

Schwabe lawyers know agriculture; many have farming and ranching backgrounds and have lived and worked in the communities where our clients operate. We are known for our long-standing relationships with farms, dairies, ranches and agribusiness companies that are invested in the land and local communities. We also have strong ties with regional industry associations, including Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, Washington Cattlemen’s Association, Oregon Dairy Farmers Association, Oregon Farm Bureau and the Public Lands Council.

Counsel for every stage of growth

We understand the price and regulatory constraints the agriculture industry faces.  Our experience and roots allow us to provide practical, cost-effective services and strategies. 

Experience

  • Crafted and implemented estate and business transition plans to ensure continuity of farming operations, provide fairness to off-farm heirs and minimize estate tax.
  • Helped farmers protect ‎land along the Green River and retain long-term production in the ‎ ‎Auburn-Kent valley‎.‎
  • Represented clients in produce arbitration involving the seed industry.
  • Advised and guided the development of vineyards and winery from concept to construction, successfully collaborating on decisions spanning entity formation, property acquisition and development to licensing and marketing.
  • Negotiated numerous water developments through grant funding, agency approvals, challenges from non-profit interest groups and neighbors.
  • Obtained mitigation for water rights in a scenic waterway, hydraulically connected groundwater, and Deschutes ground and surface water rights. 
  • Represented agriculture interests regarding the Harney County groundwater rules, negotiating protection for existing water rights and interest in expanding water use.
  • Worked on biological assessments and biological opinions, defended preliminary injunctions, and evaluated candidate conservation agreements (with and without assurances) involving Endangered Species Act and state wildlife law issues.
  • Resolve labor and worker injury claims for farms and dairies related to minimum wage, piece rate payments, leave laws, and policies on substance use (i.e., marijuana).
  • Represented grazing permit holders affected by public interest group litigation, grazing permit renewals and modifications, biological assessments and opinions, NEPA comments, Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), Environmental Assessments (EA), wilderness, wilderness study areas (WSA), monument designations, fires, wild horses, sage grouse, salmon, steelhead, bull trout, monitoring, wild and scenic rivers. 
  • Worked with rural counties on R.S. 2477 rights-of-way and coordination and cooperating agency status.  
  • Advised clients on expanded and new water storage in prior converted croplands, updated diversion structures in fish bearing streams, cleaning out ditches and ponds, evaluating whether they are operating in Waters of the United States or waters of the state, and modifying farming practices in tiled fields.
  • Advised large and small dairies on CAFO permit requirements and advocated for dairies against neighbor complaints, inspections and enforcement actions by EPA and ODA. 

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Represented more than 100 farms, dairies and ranches in the Pacific NW in last decade


Schwabe lawyers helped found the Western Resources Legal Center and chair its Attorney Advisory Committee

Tier One Timber Practice in the US, U.S. News-Best Lawyers