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Agriculture

At OFW Law, we have daily contact with agencies throughout the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Our attorneys and Senior Policy Advisors have worked with officials in, and have themselves served at, the highest levels of the Department. Moreover, they have real world experience raising cattle, hogs, cotton, corn, and even cranberries, as well as exercising direct operational control for food safety in some of the largest USDA-regulated plants in the nation. Our attorneys and Senior Policy Advisors work within not only agriculture law, but also the business of innovative 21st century agriculture, including energy development, production, and use. At OFW Law, we counsel clients on compliance with requirements set forth in the laws that USDA administers. When necessary, our attorneys act immediately to bring clients' challenges before regulatory authorities, courts, or Congress to ensure that the business of agriculture continues to move forward.

Over the years, our attorneys have assisted clients in interactions with and appearances before:

  • The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

  • The Farm Service Agency (FSA)

  • The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)

  • The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

  • The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

  • The Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA)

  • The Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC)

  • USDA Rural Development

  • The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)

  • U.S. Forest Service (USFS)

In the nearly 30 years since our founding, we have provided regulatory counsel to a multitude of businesses, from small processors to multi-facility multi-national corporations. We understand the costs associated with regulatory actions, such as plant closures, and provide the legal expertise to limit these costs and get plants back up and running as soon as possible.

Addressing the Breadth of Agriculture

OFW Law has an impressive record of success. Our attorneys have:

  • Helped firms manage recalls of allegedly adulterated or misbranded foods

  • Counseled firms on design and implementation of their hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) plans and sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOPs)

  • Obtained reopening of FSIS-regulated plants after suspension or withdrawal of inspection

  • Assisted plants in avoiding plant closures

  • Successfully lobbied for major amendments to the Federal Meat Inspection Act

  • Successfully assisted SNAP (food stamp) vendors in appeals of disqualification charges and determinations before FNS and the federal courts.

  • Successfully challenged USDA's procedure for adopting safe handling and labeling regulations for meat and poultry products

  • Achieved policy changes to permit importation of innovative products

  • Aided in the development of commercially-viable organic agriculture

  • Advised several trade associations in negotiations resulting in an overhaul of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act

  • Successfully defended against enforcement actions brought under the Packers and Stockyards Act

  • Negotiated resolution of trust claims under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act

  • Represented research facilities under investigation for matters regulated by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

  • Represented research facilities in investigations and enforcement actions related to the Animal Welfare Act

  • Managed bid protests in USDA procurement programs

  • Assisted businesses in obtaining USDA rural development financing

  • Worked with clients to identify and respond to production and transportation infrastructure needs

  • Worked with clients on forestry policy

  • Assisted a wide range of farm producer groups win approval from the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) Board of Directors for new crop insurance plans that better address their risk management needs

  • Advised crop insurance companies entering the FCIC program on obtaining a Standard Reinsurance Agreement, and aided companies, agents, and producers alike in a wide range of crop insurance-related disputes

Many products and activities regulated by USDA, such as imported food products and diagnostic test kits containing animal products, are also regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. We have the experience to handle such matters before FDA, as well as USDA.

Focus on Due Diligence Support

Our attorneys are an important resource for other law firms, investment bankers, venture capitalists, accountants, and other professionals engaged in matters requiring expertise in USDA law and regulation. Our attorneys are frequently retained to assist with due diligence evaluations of USDA-regulated companies and to provide advice on contractual language and representations and warranties for transactions involving agricultural firms.

Focus on Associations

For many years, we have served as counsel to trade associations and coalitions whose members are regulated by USDA and other agencies. We provide a full range of services to our trade association clients and their member companies, including:

  • Advice to the association's executive committee, board of directors, and staff

  • Attendance at, and monitoring of, association meetings

  • Assistance in drafting and filing government documents

  • Counsel during periods of association transition, changes in leadership, and mergers

  • Regulatory advice to association staff on applicable federal and state requirements

  • Legal support for the association's government affairs and legislative initiatives

Agricultural Attorneys/Senior Policy Advisors: