Farms, dairies, and ranches in the Pacific Northwest are represented by Schwabe.
With years of experience helping agricultural businesses, 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; some have roots in farming or ranching and have lived and worked in the rural communities where our clients operate. We are known for our longstanding relationships with farms, dairies, ranches, and agribusiness companies that are invested in the land and local communities. We also have strong ties with industry associations that represent our clients’ interests. Schwabe’s team provides guidance to our agriculture clients in specific areas including tax and estate planning, trusts, corporate governance, financing, labor and employment, real estate transactions, land use, water rights, fish and wildlife concerns, removal-fill activities, pesticide regulations, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO), and public land permits and rights of way.
Counsel for every stage of growth
We understand the price and regulatory constraints the agriculture industry faces. Whether planning for future growth, preparing for a business transition, or applying for permits or agency approvals, our experience and roots allow us to provide practical, cost-effective services and strategies.
Defending against agency actions
We have years of experience representing agriculture clients in administrative proceedings, whether those proceedings relate to water rights, CAFOs, removal-fill (wetlands), pesticide, or other regulatory matters in Oregon and Washington. We defend against enforcement actions and fight for approval of permit applications before the Oregon Office of Administrative Hearings and the Pollution Control Hearings Board in Washington. When necessary, our deep bench of commercial litigators and appellate lawyers work alongside our agriculture lawyers to defend our clients’ interests in circuit courts, courts of appeals, superior courts, and supreme courts.
Helping navigate agricultural land use
Agricultural and farm uses are often ripe for conflict as urban development expands toward farmland. Schwabe lawyers are skilled in helping our clients achieve state and local approvals when necessary and protecting our farming clients.
Our land use team is also “in the trenches” during urban growth boundary and urban reserve area expansions, advocating for successful inclusion if our clients desire. Similarly, our experience regularly includes assisting clients with rezoning applications when existing zoning misaligns with the land’s productive capacity.
Sign up below to join our “Schwabe in the Field” mailing list to receive our newsletter and updates.
What our clients say
“I’d like to add ‘working with Schwabe’ to our balance sheet since it has tangibly increased our bottom line! We are able to work with leading experts in their respective fields to maximize our profits.
Everyone we have worked with is professional and friendly, extremely accessible and responsive. It has been a win-win experience for us at Berger International!”
100 PNW farms, dairies & ranches
Represented in the last decade
founder Western Resources Legal Center
Band two Oregon Environmental
Chambers ranked Environmental attorneys in Oregon and Washington
National Tier 1
- Obtained mitigation for water rights in a scenic waterway, hydraulically connected groundwater, and Deschutes ground and surface water rights.
- Worked with rural counties on R.S. 2477 rights-of-way and coordination and cooperating agency status.
- Advised large and small dairies on CAFO permit requirements and advocated for dairies against neighbor complaints, inspections, and enforcement actions by EPA and ODA.
- 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.
- 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.
- Protected grazing permit interests as intervenors in litigation against the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
- Guided farmers through the process of obtaining wetlands and water-right permits to build new storage in the Willamette Valley.
- Resolved 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).
- Advised farmers and agricultural property owners on corporate organization, governance, real property, and operational matters.
- Assisted applicants in obtaining water rights (storage, groundwater, surface water), transfers, permit amendments and extensions, groundwater modifications, and other authorizations from and agreements with the Oregon Water Resources Department.
- Resolved public land trespass notices and enforcement actions related to fires, grazing, and access.
- Resolved, through stipulated agreement and mutual order and agreement, various Oregon Department of Agriculture claims related to pesticide labeling, use, and applications.
- Mediated grazing permit enforcement actions and restored grazing activity on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.
- Defended high-profile enforcement and termination actions for individual CAFO permit issued to Oregon dairy.
- Represented a ranch client in negotiating a flow restoration agreement with The Freshwater Trust. Our client was paid to reduce irrigation for the benefit of summer steelhead.
- Developing family farm succession plans that dovetail estate plans for three generations of hazelnut farmers in the Willamette Valley and ensure the farms can stay in the family.