Agriculture

Cairncross & Hempelmann’s integrated team of attorneys understands the changing environment in which our agriculture clients operate.

Our attorneys have represented lender and producer clients involved in a wide range of agricultural areas, including finance, timber, orchards, dairies, row crops, hay, fresh and frozen food processing, fish farms, and seafood products.

This team includes attorneys that have experience with secured financing, real estate, land use, business, and clean tech practices to provide superior service and advice to this diverse and unique industry. 

 
With over 40 years of combined experience with farm financing issues, we have experience in agricultural financing issues involving land finance, operating lines and equipment finance.  We are skilled at loan enforcement actions, forbearance arrangements, state agricultural liens (processor, preparer, and evidencing of liens), U.C.C. perfection and priority issues, PACA trust issues, state receiverships and federal bankruptcy proceedings.
 
•    Agricultural Financing and Funding 
•    Bankruptcy Chapters 7, 11, 12 and 13
•    Rural Land Use and Zoning 
•    Farm Employment
•    Agricultural Service Providers and Vendors 
•    Packing and Distribution Operations 
•    PACA Trusts 
•    State-Imposed Liens and Lien Priority
•    IP Issues, including Trademarks, Branding, and Licensing
 
In 2005, the firm expanded its practice to representation of receivers who are appointed to manage farms and agribusinesses. The team also represents producers of food products in their efforts to restructure their financing affairs – counseling companies as to their legal rights and negotiations with lenders, and providing quality assistance in the review, negotiation, and finalization of restructuring documentation. 
 
Members of the Agriculture practice frequently handle real estate, permitting and intellectual property, employment and transactional matters throughout the Pacific Northwest. 

We have represented successful projects in a variety of issues commonly faced by our Agriculture clients.  Representative projects include: 

  • Chapter 11 confirmation of the bank’s creditor’s plan, which led to the successful Ninth Circuit appeal of In re Jorgensen, establishing the substantial consummation rule in the circuit.  In re Jorgensen, 66 B.R. 104 (9th Cir. BAP (Wash.) 1986).
  • Representation of 52 dairy farms in a lien priority dispute with a major national lender. Although this matter was ultimately resolved by the Washington State Supreme Court in favor of the lender, our firm was able to work with our clients to effectuate a significant statutory change to the rights of milk producers for the benefit of future generations of dairy farmers. 
  • Since 1985, Representation of national lender in enforcement of secured lender’s rights, forbearance agreements, litigation and bankruptcies in transactions with outstanding total debt of over to $200 million.
  • Assisted regional seafood firm with acquisition, operations and eventual sale of several Puget Sound salmon farms. 
  • Provided guidance and counseling to multi-state crop grower, processor and distributor in loan workout negotiations with national lender. 
  • Represented secured operating lender in Chapter 11 proceedings of frozen food processing company, requiring extensive and complex cash collateral litigation.
  • Assisted secured lender in loan workout negotiations to full payoff by salmon farm borrower. 
  • Assisted local hay farmer with successful Chapter 12 proceedings.
  • Represented national foodservice distributor in successful 9th Circuit appeal protecting its PACA trust rights in a bankruptcy proceeding. 
  • Represented court-appointed Receiver of dairy farm, assisting in herd management and disposition issues.
  • Assisted with land redemptions for vineyard operation.
  • Developed a comprehensive plan amendment proposed to change criteria the County uses to designate Agricultural Resource Lands (ARL). 
  • Representation of orchard companies and lenders funding orchard operations. 
  • Represented a hydroponic vertical farm in its sale to a full service produce company. 
  • Managed intellectual property portfolios, including trademarks, branding, and licensing for several produce import clients.