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Make Sure Your Farming Business Is Operating In a Legally Sound Way

View profile for Rory Hutchings
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"I’ve taken over the reins of our farm from my father and while I have farming experience, I’m very aware we are all working in a new environment now, so I want to make sure I’m getting things right legally, as far as employment contracts, diversification rules and other issues. What should I do?"

You are wise to assess the business for any legal weak points or for anything you could be doing to make the business run more smoothly. And, as you say, the pandemic has changed the landscape for firms, employers and employees across a range of areas. The good news is, if you are an NFU Farmer and Grower member you can access a free legal health check with JCP as part of the NFU Legal Assistance Scheme.

The Legal Assistance Scheme is a discretionary benefit in-house scheme provided by a panel of Solicitors selected by the NFU, of which JCP is the Mid and South Wales representative. In combination with NFU Call First, the scheme provides farmer and grower members with professional guidance and in some cases a contribution towards legal and other professional costs, should you face a legal dispute relating to your business.

The idea of the healthcheck is that we will review with you the current position of your farm business and succession planning; and can make recommendations regarding issues you need to consider as a result of the healthcheck. So, we may recommend a partnership agreement, some employment contracts, up to date Wills and/or Powers of Attorney.

Farmer and Grower Members will receive a discount from JCP on our fees for work that is then undertaken and until October 2021 NFU members who qualify can also seek a contribution from the Scheme towards the costs that are incurred to prepare documents arising as a result of the healthcheck.

We can contact you for a free over the phone (or Zoom) meeting to make sure we have information about the issues that concern you and the legal issues arising in your farming business. We will make recommendations if we feel there are steps you should consider and we will prepare a short report for you to consider. There is no obligation to press ahead with any work, but if you do, we can apply on your behalf for contribution from the NFU Legal Assistance Scheme towards costs.

We have been on the NFU Panel since 2008 and we’re proud to represent NFU Members who are referred to us via the NFU Call First centre, with legal queries.

Our Rural Practice teams are on hand to provide specialist legal advice. For more information, contact Rory by emailing or call 01267 234022.

This question is based on a hypothetical situation.