Farm and Food Legal Resources



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Accounting and Taxation

Farm Business Entities
Farm Commons
This webpage provides a chart comparing various business organizational structures, and an outline for how to create an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation).


Managing Debt to Prepare for Farm Transfer
Farmers’ Legal Action Group
This resource provides “an introduction to key estate planning concepts for the family farmer, with an emphasis on planning for how a farm debt is handled after the farmer’s death.”  Furthermore, the publication provides “specific information for farmers who have direct loans from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (USDA-FSA).”


Publication 225, Farmer’s Tax Guide
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
This website provides access to a publication explaining how federal tax laws apply to farming.  The publication is intended to serve as a guide for calculating farm tax and completing farm tax returns.


Research by Topic: Estate Planning & Taxation
National Agricultural Law Center
This website provides a variety of resources relevant to agricultural estate planning and taxation, including links to major statutes, regulations, case law, and other research publications.  It also provides links to additional websites with in-depth information on topics ranging from succession planning to federal estate and gift taxation.


Small Farm Tax Guide
Rural Tax Education
This website provides access to a tax guide for owners and operators of small and medium-sized farms.  Among the topics covered in the guide are farm income and farm deductions, tools for managing tax liability, farm transfer, and tax reporting and payment.


Small Scale Food Entrepreneurship: A Technical Guide for Food Ventures
Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station
This resource provides a broad range of information for food entrepreneurs.  Specific information on business and accounting matters can be found in chapter II.   


Tax Guide for Small Business (For Individuals Who Use Schedule C or C-EZ)
Internal Revenue Service
This resource “provide[s] general information about the federal tax laws that apply to small business owners who are sole proprietors and to statutory employees.  This publication has information on business income, expenses, and tax credit that may help you file your income tax return.”


Tax Guide: For Owners and Operators of Small and Medium Sized Farms
Rural Tax Education
This resource serves as a tax guide for small and medium sized farms.  It provides a range of essential information for completing your taxes as an owner or operator of a small or medium sized farm. 


Tax Protests for Properties Near Factory Farms
Environmental & Natural Law Clinic at Vermont Law School
This website provides resources to property owners who live near a factory farm and wish to challenge their property tax assessment because they believe the assessor did not adequately consider the factory farm’s presence.  Resources include state-specific information and a factory farm impact fact sheet, among others. 


Topics: Tax and IRS
Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation at Iowa State University
This website “provides timely, critically objective information to producers, professionals and agribusinesses concerning the application of important developments in agricultural law and taxation.”  The resources available include links to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance documents and draft tax forms.




Alternative and Renewable Energy

Farm Energy
Extension: America’s Research-based Learning Network
This resource provides extensive information on on-farm energy production.  Areas covered include anaerobic digestion and biogas, biodiesel, efficiency and conservation, feedstock and energy crops, and wind and solar energy, among others.  This site also offers agriculture energy webinars and a bioenergy curriculum.


Farm Energy Options
United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library
This website provides access to a number of resources concerning the use and production of renewable energy on farms.


Research by Topic: Renewable Energy
National Agricultural Law Center
This website provides an overview of renewable energy in agriculture.  The page covers a number of topic areas including solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and biofuels.  There are also links to major statutes, case law, and regulations on the topic, among other resources. 


Topic: Alternative Energy
Farmers’ Legal Action Group
This website provides farmers with information about wind energy, including publications on general legal issues of wind farming, negotiating wind energy property agreements, and a review of select state and federal policy incentives for wind energy development.




Aquaculture

Research by Topic: Aquaculture
National Agriculture Law Center
This website covers key issues surrounding aquaculture, including regulation of aquaculture, environmental impacts, and its relationship to international trade.  The page contains links to the major statutes, regulations, case law, and administrative decisions concerning aquaculture, among other resources.


Seafood Resources: Sustainable Seafood Recommendations
Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
This resource helps consumers make more informed decisions when selecting seafood.  The page hopes to provide consumers with information that will promote seafood choices that have a more positive impact on ocean health.  The page provides links to information on sustainable seafood sources, the relationship between seafood and human health, and general information about aquaculture, among other topics.




Business Organization, Structure and Planning

Business & Financial Management Toolshed: Business Planning
Vermont New Farmer Project at The University of Vermont
This website provides links to articles, fact sheets, tools, and other resources related to accessing capital and credit for farm needs.  The available publications include Building a Sustainable Business and Model Business Plan for Hoop Houses, 2010.  


Business Structure
Field Guide to the New American Foodshed
This resource provides basic explanations for the most common forms of business structures, along with case studies that illustrate business structure decisions made in real life contexts.  The business structures covered include C-Corporations, Cooperatives, LLCs, Non-Profits, S-Corporation, and Sole Proprietorships


Farm Business Entities
Farm Commons
This website provides a chart comparing various business organizational structures, as well as an outline for how to create an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation).  NOTE: in order to access the information a user must provide their contact information. 


Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm
Center for Sustainable Agriculture at The University of Vermont
This resource details options and considerations for developing unconventional financial arrangements within the agricultural sector.  The guide explores the basic legal issues of pursuing such arrangements, highlighting several mechanisms that allow for creativity and customization of financial transactions at the neighbor-to-farmer or farmer-to-community member level.


Marketing, Business, and Risk Management: Business Planning and Management
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA)
This website provides a number of guides and templates for various business planning and management needs.  The available publications cover topics such as accounting, compensation, conservation easements, conservation financing for farm transfer, and crop insurance options for specialty, diversified, and organic farmers, among others.


One-Page Planning
Field Guide to the New American Foodshed
This website provides information and templates for business planning, including the One-Page Business Plan the One-Page Financial Plan and the One-Page Risk Management Plan.  The site also contains a one-hour webinar on the one-page plans that overviews their use and importance.


Research by Topic: Business Organizations
National Agricultural Law Center
This website covers a variety of topics relevant to establishing and managing an agriculturally-related business.  The topics covered include liability and tax implications and the pros and cons of various business structure options, among others.  The page also contains a list of links to the major statutes, case law, and relevant research publications.


Small Scale Food Entrepreneurship: A Technical Guide for Food Ventures
Cornell University
This resource was designed to increase awareness of food processing and safety issues related to entrepreneurial food products.  It is intended to provide the reader with the basic knowledge and vocabulary necessary to own and operate a specialty food business.  The guide covers a range of topics, and business and marketing issues are covered in chapter II.




Cottage Food Laws

Cottage Food Laws
CottageFoodLaws.org
This website provides state-specific overviews of cottage food rules and regulations, including information on proposed and pending legislations.


Cottage Food Laws in the United States
Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic
This resource is a broad publication covering numerous aspects of cottage food laws throughout the United States.




Environmental and Land Use Regulation

Conservation Easements
Land Trust Alliance
This website provides an overview of conservation easements and includes information on steps landowners can take to conserve their land, as well as an overview of the general benefits and tax deductions associated with land conservation.


Creating Healthier Food Environments
ChangeLab Solutions, Healthy Planning Program
This resource provides information to help communities build access to healthy, affordable, fresh food.  The resources available include “toolkits, fact sheets, and reports on establishing community gardens and farmers’ markets, promoting healthy mobile vending, improving corner store offerings, attracting grocery retail, and more!”


Land Use/Zoning
Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law
This website provides links to policy guides and other resources to help advocates incorporate public health goals into local planning efforts. 


Model Healthy Food Zone Ordinance
ChangeLab Solutions, National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity
This resource outlines one strategy for reducing the number of fast food restaurants and mobile food vendors located near schools.  A Model Ordinance and a related report are both available for download.


Model Licensing Ordinance for Healthy Food Retailers
ChangeLab Solutions, National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity
This Model Licensing Ordinance for Healthy Food Retailers and accompanying guide outline one strategy for encouraging food retailers to stock healthier products.


Research by Topic: Environmental Law
National Environmental Law Center
This website provides links to major environmental statutes and regulations impacting agriculture, in addition to case law and reports, among other resources.


Toolkit: General Plans & Zoning
ChangeLab Solutions, Healthy Planning Program
This resource provides a toolkit for “nutrition and other public health advocates who are seeking a fundamental, introductory understanding of how land use decisions are made and how advocates can effectively participate in those decisions.” 


Toolkit: How to Create & Implement Healthy General Plans
ChangeLab Solutions, Healthy Planning Program
This resource describes ways in which public health advocates can partner with city planners to create healthier communities.  It includes model language for addressing public health goals in city and county general plans.


UrbanAgLaw Topics: Planning & Zoning
Sustainable Economies Law Center
This website provides “both general and city-specific information on zoning codes, urban agriculture policies, key terminology, and useful resources.”




Farm to Institution

Farm to School
Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law
This website provides links to fact sheets and policy briefs on farm to school programs, such as Feeding America’s Schoolchildren: Resources for Public Health and School Stakeholders and Legal and Practical Considerations in the Operation of Federal School Nutrition Programs.


Farm to School Food Safety
Colorado Farm to School Task Force
This website provides links to reports and webinars addressing food safety in farm to school programs.


Farm To School: FAQs – Food Safety
United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services (USDA-FNS)
This website provides a list of common legal and regulatory questions and considerations for farmers wishing to sell their products to schools. 


Government Purchasing Preference that Support Local Farmers: A 50 State Review
Megan Scully, J.D. on Behalf of the Colorado Farm to School Task Force
This resource “examines individual procurement statutes, describes six nationwide trends and details Colorado’s current procurement statute governing local food purchases.”


Hospitals/Health Clinics
Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law
This website provides links to fact sheets, webinars, and other resources describing various hospital initiatives addressing healthy food procurement and access, with a particular emphasis on healthy beverage policies. 


State Farm to School Legislative Survey: 2002-2013
Vermont Law School Center for Agriculture and Food Systems and the National Farm to School Network
This resource compiles proposed and enacted farm to school legislation for all fifty states.


Tools and Resources
Healthy Food in Healthcare (a nationwide initiative of Health Care Without Harm)
This website provides multiple resources to help hospital administrators and employees increase purchasing of sustainably produced foods, including sample food purchasing contracts and food sourcing guides.




Financing and Securities

Access to Capital
Partnership for Americas New Farmers
This website provides links to overviews of various financing tools for new farmers and information on how organizations can leverage funding to support new farmers.  There are also links to general, nationally relevant financing programs.


Access to Financial Resources: Issue-Focused Project, Findings and Recommendations
Growing New Farmers Consortium
This resource “[identifies] the barriers a beginning farmer experiences when accessing financial capital.”  The report provides information and analysis on various sources of financial resources available to new farmers, among other topics.


Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm: Ways for Farms to Acquire Capital within Communities
University of Vermont Extension
This resource covers a variety of methods for financing a community-based or small, direct-sale farm.  Case studies are situated within Vermont, however, the majority of the information is applicable to farmers throughout the United States.


Legal Eats: Legal Workshop for Community Food Enterprise
Sustainable Economies Law Center
This website provides access to a video series on community food enterprises.  The topics covered include “Choosing and Forming an Entity,” “Intro to Nonprofits,” and “Securities Basics,” among others. 


Research by Topic: Finance and Credit
National Agricultural Law Center
This website provides a general overview of farm credit, secured transactions, and agricultural lending.  The site also provides links to relevant major statutes, regulations, and case law, among other resources. 


Small Scale Food Entrepreneurship: A Technical Guide for Food Ventures
Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station
This resource provides a broad range of information for food entrepreneurs.  Specific information on business and marketing matters can be found in chapter II. 


Your Guide to FSA Farm Loans
United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency (USDA-FSA)
This resource is intended for “people who need assistance starting, expanding, or owning a farm or ranch.”  The guide “provides practical information about how to apply for an USDA Farm Service Agency loan or loan guarantee.”




Food Access and Security

Access to Healthy and Affordable Food
Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law
This website provides links to a number of fact sheets and policy briefs addressing access to healthy food.  One example includes a recent report entitled Access to Healthy Food: Challenges and Opportunities, which “provides public health advocates, policymakers, and community organizers with an overview of key policy and legal strategies being pursued to reduce or prevent obesity by increasing access to healthy food.”


Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast
Penn State, College of Agricultural Sciences
This website provides links to publications related to research on “whether greater reliance on regionally produced food could improve food access and affordability to disadvantaged communities, while also benefiting farmers, food supply chain firms and others in the food system.”


Food Policy Networks
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for a Livable Future
This website provides a host of resources relevant to food access and food policy, including a compendium of enacted state and local legislation impacting food policy, how-to guides for starting and running food policy councils, and model policies and ordinances, among other resources.


Food Security in the U.S.
United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS)
This website provides reports and data from the USDA Economic Research Service regarding United States’ food security.




Food Policy Councils

Food Policy Networks
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for a Livable Future
This website provides a host of resources relevant to food access and food policy, including a compendium of enacted state and local legislation impacting food policy, how-to guides for starting and running food policy councils, and model policies and ordinances, among other resources.


Good Laws, Good Food: Putting Local Food Policy to Work for Our Communities
Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic
This resource provides local food policy councils, nonprofits, city planners, and other local government agencies with information helpful to promoting change within their local food system.  Topics covered include municipal, city and county-level laws helpful to local food initiatives, general legal issues, food systems infrastructure, land use regulations, and environmental considerations, among others.


Good Laws, Good Food: Putting State Food Policy to Work for Our Communities
Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic
This resource is the second part of two-part series covering policy initiatives to advance local food systems and communities.  This resource provides specific guidance, opportunities, and examples to aid state food policy councils in promoting state-level policy change. 




Food Safety

A Farm Food Safety Toolkit: A Nationwide Survey
Colorado Farm to School Task Force
This resource provide access to a report reflecting the “findings of a 50-state survey of farm food safety initiatives, demonstrating the diversity and creativity driving farm food safety initiatives across the nation.”


Direct Marketing Guides
National Agricultural Law Center
This website provides state-specific information for food producers engaged in direct marketing, and includes information on a range of important legal and business considerations.  The states for which resources are available are: New York, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida.


FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
This FDA website provides a comprehensive overview of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  The site also provides a report on the progress of implementing the act, as well as toolkits on the proposed rules which are intended specifically for farmers.


Federal Food Safety Laws
National Conference of State Legislatures
This website provides a thorough overview of federal food safety regulations, and specifically covers the Food Safety and Inspection Services’ (FSIS’) authority under the Federal Meat, Poultry and Egg Products Inspection Act.


Food Safety
Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law
This website provides links to a variety of fact sheets and other resources explaining how food safety may be addressed in various food access efforts, such as food donation programs and farm to school programs.


Food Safety Modernization Act: Fact Sheets
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
This resource provides information on the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), including the history of the Act, current proposed rules and guidance, and information on how to comment on these proposed rules.  The page includes links to the full text of the law, the proposed rules, and special consumer updates about the progress of the Act, among other resources.


Food Safety Resources and Tools
Michigan Farm and Food Safety
This website provides links to a number of resources and tools available to farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and food safety certification, including information on conducting a self-audit.


Food: Recalls, Outbreaks & Emergencies
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
This website “provides information regarding the measures FDA takes when a food product is mislabeled, presents a health risk because of contamination, or has caused an outbreak of illness.”  The page includes links to information about recalls of foods and dietary supplements, outbreaks of foodborne illness, and other food emergencies.


Food: Recalls, Outbreaks and Emergencies
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
This website “provides information regarding the measures FDA takes when a food product is mislabeled, presents a health risk because of contamination, or has caused an outbreak of illness.” The page includes links to information about recalls of foods and dietary supplements, outbreaks of foodborne illness, and other food emergencies.


Foodsafety.gov

This website “is the gateway to food safety information provided by government agencies.”  The website provides notifications and alerts regarding food recalls, tips for consumers on how to keep food safety, and an overview of the government’s role in protecting food safety.


General Information Sheet #15: Food Safety Questions & Answers
United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS)
This website provides guidance from the USDA Food & Nutrition Service on “the food safety provisions of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Public Law 104-265).”


Grading, Certification and Verification: Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Audit Programs
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA-AMS)
This website provides information on voluntary independent audit programs for produce suppliers available through the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, including Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) audits.  The website also includes links to the checklists USDA auditors follow, which help to inform producers about what auditors will look for during their visits.


Guidance & Regulation: Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
This website provides a number of FDA resources on the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA), including links to the statute, proposed rules, agency guidance documents and fact sheets.


Law Project
Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR)
This website provides access to CIFOR documents intended to provide agencies with “guidance for [foodborne disease] outbreaks both within agencies' jurisdictions and across multiple states and other jurisdictional boundaries.” 


National Good Agricultural Practices Program
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Food Science at Cornell University
This website includes resources for farmers seeking to adopt Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) programs to reduce microbial risks in fruit and vegetable production.  The website includes links to educational materials to help farmers adopt and implement practices that reduce food safety risks, and a “decision tree” to help farmers identify existing food safety risks.


Prevention Status Report 2013: Food Safety
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
This report “highlight[s]—for all 50 states and the District of Columbia—the status of select practices that can help states prevent or reduce foodborne illness.”


Raw Milk Facts: State by State
Real Raw Milk Facts
This website provides information on state-specific milk regulations for all 50 states.  Each state’s page also contains information on state bills and acts that are pertinent to milk regulations within that state.


Research by Topic: Food Safety
National Agricultural Law Center
This resource provides an overview of food safety law, including links to major statutes, regulations, and case law.  There is also a list of links to publications on various food safety legal topics.


Research by Topic: Food Safety
National Agricultural Law Center
This website provides an overview of food safety laws, including their history and enforcement, and the role of federal agencies in their administration.  The site also links to major statutes, regulations, and case law on the topic, among other resources. 


Small Scale Food Entrepreneurship: A Technical Guide for Food Ventures
Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station
This resource provides a broad range of information for food entrepreneurs.  Sections III through IV of the publication specifically cover food safety topics, including regulations and requirements for acidified and low acid products, dairy products, and meat and poultry products.  


The Food Safety Modernization Act: Learn More, Act Today!
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
This resource provides information about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), including the background of the Act, proposed rules, and affected parties.  The page includes links to specific information about the produce and preventative controls rules as well as to NSAC’s submitted comments on these rules. 


Understanding Food Safety Regulations for Farm-Direct Sales: A Study of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group; Northeast States Association for Agricultural Stewardship; Conservation Law Foundation; Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
This resource is a 2007 report that “describes the regulatory framework that applies to farm-direct sales and the architecture of government agencies that have jurisdiction.  It identifies challenges and recommends policies.”  NOTE: although the general information is good, some specific state regulations may have changed since publication.


UrbanAgLaw Topics: Food, Ag, and Health Regulations
Sustainable Economies Law Center
This website “provides information about agricultural, health, and safety regulations affecting commercial urban farm operations on federal, state and local levels.” 


UrbanAgLaw Topics: Food, Ag, and Health Regulations
Sustainable Economies Law Center
This website “provides information about agricultural, health, and safety regulations affecting commercial urban farm operations on federal, state and local levels.”  The resource is organized by agricultural product.




Genetically Engineered Foods

A New View for U.S. Agriculture
Center for Food Safety
This resource provides state-by-state fact sheets on top agricultural commodities, organic sales, as well as federal regulations on genetically engineered (GE) foods and deregulated GE crops.


A New View of U.S. Agriculture: State-by-state factsheets on top agricultural commodities, organic sales, and regulations of genetically engineered foods
Center for Food Safety
This resource provides a state-by-state guide to the top agricultural commodities, organic sales records, and genetic engineering (GE) regulations of each state, as well as information regarding federal regulation of GEs.  The resource includes links to relevant regulations.


Research by Topic: Biotechnology
National Agricultural Law Center
This website covers key biotechnology issues including the use of genetic engineering (GE) in livestock, aquaculture, and a variety of crops.  The website also includes resources on the issues of liability, intellectual property, and international trade as they pertain to GE crops.  In addition, the page contains links to the major statutes, regulations, case law, and administrative decisions concerning biotechnology, among other resources.


Topic: Biotechnology/GMOs
Farmers’ Legal Action Group
This website provides farmers with information about the regulation of biotechnology and genetically engineered (GE) crops.  Resources include farmers’ rights, obligations, and liabilities in the use of GE crops, and information on the regulatory structure relevant to the intersection of organic farming and GE crops.


True Food Shoppers Guide: How to Avoid Genetically Engineered Foods
Center for Food Safety
This resource serves as a guide for consumers wanting to avoid genetically engineered (GE) foods.  It provides a number of tips for shoppers, including “at-risk” ingredients and lists of GE and non-GE products in different categories, such as meat, poultry and produce.




Genetically Engineered Foods - Labeling

Guidance for Industry: Voluntary Labeling Indicating Whether Foods Have or Have Not Been Developed Using Bioengineering; Draft Guidance
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
This website provides the FDA’s recommendations on labeling of foods as GMO or GE – free.  Notably, this is only a guidance document and its recommendations do not create a legally binding regulation.


Product Verification
NON GMO Project
This website provides information on the Non-GMO Project’s product verification and label approval process.  The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization offering “North Americas only third-party verification and labeling for non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) food and products.”




Health and Nutrition

Dietary Guidance
United States Department of Agriculture, National Agriculture Library
This website provides information about dietary guidelines, federal dietary recommendations, and other general nutrition and health information.  It includes links to additional resources including fraud and nutrition misinformation, dietary supplements, and interactive tools for consumers.


Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and United States Department of Health and Human Services (USHHS)
This federal resource serves as a dietary guideline for consumers, but also for policy makers as they construct federal health and nutrition programs.  It includes a number of recommendations on how to make Americans healthier, as well as a general explanation of what it means to eat healthily.  Moreover, “[t]he Dietary Guidelines for Americans serve as the basis for Federal food and nutrition education programs.”


Food Choices & Health
United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS)
This website offers information on health and nutrition and how they interact with education, information, access to food, and consumer demand.  The page includes links to related and relevant data, reports, and articles.


Healthy Agriculture
ChangeLab Solutions, Childhood Obesity Program
This website provides a “suite of materials for health advocates who want to collaborate with the agricultural sector” in order to improve access to healthy food.


Making Schools Healthier
ChangeLab Solutions
This website provides access to toolkits, fact sheets, and reports on creating healthy food zones, limiting food marketing at schools, and other strategies for schools to support children’s health.


Model Licensing Ordinance for Healthy Food Retailers
ChangeLab Solutions, National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity
This Model Licensing Ordinance for Healthy Food Retailers and accompanying guide outline one strategy for encouraging food retailers to stock healthier products.


Nutrition Resources for Health Professionals
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
This website compiles tools to help health professionals translate “nutrition knowledge into strategies, programs, and polices that can help Americans make healthier food choices.”


Research by Topic: Nutrition Programs
National Agricultural Law Center
This website covers key nutrition issues including federal nutrition, meal service, and food distribution programs.  The page contains links to the major statutes, regulations, case law, and administrative decisions concerning nutrition programs, among other resources.


School Food Policies
Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law
This website provides links to fact sheets and policy briefs explaining the laws and policies that impact the administration of school nutrition programs.


The Farm Bill & Public Health: A Primer for Public Health Professionals
American Public Health Association
This resource provides public health professionals with a “summary of the major components of the Farm Bill and their connections to public health.”


UrbanAgLaw Topics: Food, Ag, and Health Regulations
Sustainable Economies Law Center
This website provides information about agricultural, health, and safety regulations affecting commercial urban farm operations on federal, state and local levels and is organized according to the type of agricultural product being sold.  The page also includes many links to useful websites that cover a variety of regulatory issues pertinent to urban farming operations.




Health and Nutrition - Labeling

Claims That Can Be Made for Conventional Foods and Dietary Supplements
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
This website provides an overview of the rules and regulations governing labeling claims on food products and dietary supplements.  Specifically, this page provides information on health claims, nutrient content claims, and structure/function claims.


Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
This website conveys the FDA’s guidance for food labeling.  Notably, this agency guidance is not legally binding, but “represents the FDA’s “current thinking on the topic” and “does not operate to bind FDA or the public.  [One] can use an alternative approach if the approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations.”   


Guidance for Industry: Evidence-Based Review System for the Scientific Evaluation of Health Claims – Final
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
This website provides the FDA’s “current thinking on 1) the process for evaluating the scientific evidence for a health claim, 2) the meaning of the significant scientific agreement (SSA) standard … of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) …and 3) credible scientific evidence to support a qualified health claim.”


This website provides an overview of the rules and regulations governing labeling claims on food products and dietary supplements. Specifically, this page provides information on health claims, nutrient content claims, and structure/function claims.
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
This website conveys the FDA’s guidance for nutrient content claims.  Specifically, the page provides information on “High Potency Claims,” “Antioxidant nutrient content claims,” and “Sugar-free claims.”




Labor and Employment

Agricultural Labor: Laws
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Office of the Chief Economist
This USDA website provides links to a variety of resources on labor laws for farm operations including the publication, Employment Law Guide: Law, Regulations, and Technical Assistance Services.  The site also provides information on the Immigration and Nationality Act (MSPA), minimum wage and overtime pay, migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, the H-2A Program, and adverse effect wage rates.


Farm Interns, Employees, and Volunteers
Farm Commons
This website provides information and guides on hiring farm employees, including guides entitled: Action Plan for Intern Programs, Creating a Farm Internship Program, and Creating a Farm Apprenticeship Program.  The site also provides guides on wages in the form of food, housing, and products, as well as information on volunteer and work share agreements and waivers.  NOTE: your personal information is needed in order to access these documents.


Labor and Employment Issues
Illinois Direct Farm Business
This website sets forth many of the most important provisions within a variety of federal statutes concerning agricultural employment law.  Areas covered include fair labor standards, occupational health and safety, migrant and seasonal workers, and employer’s liability for injuries, among others.


Research by Topic: Labor
National Agricultural Law Center
This website provides access to the major statutes and regulations that apply to agricultural employees.  Among the statutes included are: Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).


UrbanAgLaw Topics: Employment Law
Sustainable Economies Law Center
This website provides information on employment laws for farm operations, with a specific focus on urban agricultural operations.  The topics covered include: who enforces employment laws, what it means to have employees, who is not an employee, who can be considered a volunteer, intern, independent contractor, or partners, and when it is appropriate to consult with a lawyer on employment and labor matters.


UrbanAgLaw Topics: Employment Laws
Sustainable Economies Law Center
This website provides information on employment laws for farm operations, with a specific focus on urban agricultural operations.  The topics covered include: who enforces employment laws, what it means to have employees, who is not an employee, and who can be considered a volunteer, intern, independent contractor, or partner.  The site also provides advice for when it is appropriate to consult with a lawyer on employment and labor matters.


Wages and Hours Worked: Worker Protection in Agriculture
United States Department of Labor (DOL)
This DOL website provides an overview of federal agricultural employment laws.  Specifically, the site overviews the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA), covering topics including its basic provisions and requirements, employee rights, recordkeeping, reporting, notices and posters, penalties and sanctions, the law’s relation to State, local and other federal laws, compliance assistance, and DOL contracts. 




Land Tenure and Access

Access to Land
Partnership for America’s New Farmers
This website provides information on the “variety of ways new farmers can access land,” and gives an overview of “the unique legal issues associated with different methods of land access.”  The methods of access covered include custom farm contracting, land sale contracting, farm lease contracting, and last will and testaments.  


Finding a Farm to Buy or Lease
Northeast Beginning Farmers Project at Cornell University
This website outlines the essential components of an agricultural lease, provides a simple sample lease agreement, and provides a link to a variety of other sample leases and lease templates.


Land Access and Tenure Toolshed: Alternative Tenure Options
Vermont New Farmer Project at the University of Vermont
This website provides an overview of the various land tenure and lease options available to farmers.  The options covered include community land trust and ground leases, cooperative ownership structures, and incubator arrangements.


Research by Topic: Farm Leases
National Agricultural Law Center
This webpage provides an overview of the important aspects of agricultural leases, as well as links to publications on specific agricultural lease issues and topics.  The site also provides links to the major statutes, regulations, case law, and agency decisions on the topic.


Sustainable Agriculture Land Tenure Initiative
Drake University Agricultural Law Center
This website provides landowners and farmers with four primary tools for developing “farm lease arrangements that are profitable and sustainable for the landowner, the farmer, the community, and the land.”  The four tools are: a video library, The Landowners Guide, Determining Priorities, and a general reference guide.


UrbanAgLaw Topics: Land Access
Sustainable Economies Law Center
This website provides information specific to accessing urban agricultural land, and “details the process of accessing public lands, the purpose of and best practices for land trusts, and the urban farming land inventories conducted in cities around the country.”


UrbanAgLaw Topics: Land Access
Sustainable Economies Law Center
This website provides legal information, best practices, and other supporting tools for urban agriculture in the United States.  Land access topics include information on accessing public and private lands, the purposes of and best practices for urban garden land trusts, and urban farming land inventories conducted in cities around the country.




Livestock and Animal Welfare

A Consumer’s Guide to Food Labels and Animal Welfare
Animal Welfare Institute
This resource serves as a guide for consumers looking to better understand food labels and animal welfare.  The guide defines and asserts the animal welfare implications of some of the most common food labels, including those for dairy, egg, meat, and poultry products.


Animal Welfare Approved Standards
Animal Welfare Approved (AWA)
This website provides access to overviews of AWA standards and slaughter guidelines.  AWA has standards for all commonly domesticated farmed animals.  Links to specific animal standards and guidelines are included in this resource.


Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Health Services
This website compiles links to reports and other resources examining the connections between livestock production and environmental health.


Farm Animal Welfare and Food Safety Fact Sheets
United States Department of Agriculture, Livestock Behavior Research Unit (USDA-LBRU)
This website contains links to the LBRU’s series of fact sheets on important farm animal welfare and food safety topics.  Topic areas covered include castration, heat stress, farrowing, laying hen housing, genetic selection, and organic pork food safety.


Humane Methods of Slaughter Act
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
This website provides a brief overview of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (Act), a link to the Act, as well as links to the regulations under the Act.  The site also provides information on compliance assistance and links to additional reports and publications on humane slaughter.


Industrial Food Animal Production Project
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for a Livable Future
This website provides links to peer-reviewed research papers, reports, and other resources generated by the Industrial Food Animal Production Project.  The purpose of the project is to “address [the ills of industrial meat production] by contributing to the state of peer-reviewed knowledge and communicating findings to policymakers and advocates, working with communities burdened by food animal production operations, and by translating science for persons in the media for rapid dissemination.”


Meat and Dairy Labeling
The Humane Society of the United States
This website provides information on common claims made on the labels of meat and dairy products.  The resource primarily covers claims that assert certain animal welfare standards, and overviews the conditions that satisfy these claims.


Research by Topic: Animal Feeding Operations
National Agricultural Law Center
This website provides information about animal feeding operations, often referred to as confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and explains how they are regulated under the Clean Water Act and other applicable statutes.  The page contains links to the major statutes, regulations, case law, and administrative decisions concerning animal feeding operations, among other resources.


Research by Topic: Animal Feeding Operations
National Agriculture Law Center
This website provides information about animal feeding operations, often referred to as confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and explains how they are regulated under the Clean Water Act and other applicable statutes.  The page contains links to the major statutes, regulations, case law, and administrative decisions concerning animal feeding operations, among other resources.


Research by Topic: Animal Welfare
National Agricultural Law Center
This website provides information about animal welfare regulation at the state and federal level.  The page contains links to the major statutes, regulations, case law, and administrative decisions concerning animal welfare, among other resources.


States’ Farm Animal Confinement Statutes
Temple Grandin
This website provides information and recommendations for methods of stunning which would be in compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.


Tax Protests for Properties Near Factory Farms
Environmental & Natural Law Clinic at Vermont Law School
This website provides resources to property owners who live near a factory farm and wish to challenge their property tax assessment because they believe the assessor did not adequately consider the factory farm’s presence.  Resources include state-specific information and a factory farm impact fact sheet, among others.


UrbanAgLaw Topics: Animals & Livestock
Sustainable Economies law Center
This website provides an overview of the laws governing Food-Producing Animals (FPAs), including information on zoning, animal welfare laws, public health laws, and nuisance laws.


UrbanAgLaw Topics: Animals and Livestock
Sustainable Economies Law Center
This website provides an overview of the laws governing food-producing animals (FPAs), including information on zoning, animal welfare laws, public health laws, and nuisance laws.




Marketing and Labeling

Claims That Can Be Made for Conventional Foods and Dietary Supplements
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
This website provides an overview of the rules and regulations governing labeling claims made on food products and dietary supplements.  Specifically, this page provides information on health claims, nutrient content claims, and structure/function claims.


Direct Marketing Guides
National Agricultural Law Center
This website provides state-specific information for food producers engaged in direct marketing, including a range of legal and business considerations.  The states for which resources are available are: New York, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida. 


Environmental Claims: Summary of the “Green Guides”
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The resource provides a summary of the “Green Guide,” a Federal Trade Commission publication providing information for marketers to ensure that their marketing claims are lawful and non-deceptive.  The full and updated “Green Guide” is available here.  


Environmental Claims: Summary of the Green Guides
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
This resource is a summary of the FTC’s “Green Guides” which provides consumers with information about environmental claims on labels.  The page includes information about such claims as “compostable,” “made with renewable materials,” and “recyclable,” among others.


Farmers’ Markets and CSAs on Hospital Grounds
Healthy Food in Healthcare (a nationwide initiative of Health Care Without Harm)
This resource sets out step-by-step plans for founding a farmers’ market or hosting a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at a hospital facility.


Food Labeling: General Information and Resources
United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library
This page provides a number of resources to help consumers better understand food labels, including an interactive guide to food labels and information on the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, among others.


Food Marketing
ChangeLab Solutions, Childhood Obesity Program
This website provides “a variety of resources to help advocates pursue legal and policy strategies to improve the food marketing environment.”


Food Marketing to Kids
Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law
This website provides links to a number of fact sheets and other resources describe legal and policy tools public health experts and consumer advocates can use to address “troubling trends” in food and beverage marketing to children. Examples of fact sheets available on this page include Consumer Protection: An Overview of State Laws and Enforcement (2010) and State AG Enforcement of Food Marketing Laws: A Brief History (2010).


Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
This website conveys the FDA’s guidance for food labeling.  Notably, this agency guidance is not legally binding, but “represents the FDA’s “current thinking on the topic” and “does not operate to bind FDA or the public.  [One] can use an alternative approach if the approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations.”   


Guidance for Industry: Evidence-Based Review System for the Scientific Evaluation of Health Claims – Final
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
This website conveys the FDA’s “current thinking on 1) the process for evaluating the scientific evidence for a health claim, 2) the meaning of the significant scientific agreement (SSA) standard … of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) …and 3) credible scientific evidence to support a qualified health claim.”


Guidance for Industry: Food Labeling; Nutrient Content Claims
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
This website conveys the FDA’s guidance on nutrient content claims.  Specifically, the page provides information on “High Potency Claims,” “Antioxidant nutrient content claims,” and “Sugar-free claims.”


Guidance for Industry: Voluntary Labeling Indicating Whether Foods Have or Have Not Been Developed Using Bioengineering; Draft Guidance
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
This website provides the FDA’s recommendations on labeling of foods as GMO or GE – free.  Notably, this is only a guidance document and its recommendations do not set a legally binding regulation.


Guide to Legal Issues in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): The Road to the Membership Agreement
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture
This resource provides an overview of legal issues faced by community supported agriculture (CSA) operations.  The topics covered include labor, membership agreements, and liability issues, among others.


Healthy Vending
Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law
This website provides links to a number of fact sheets and other resources describing how institutions such as schools and hospitals can adopt and implement “Healthy Vending” and “Healthy Beverage” policies.  ‘Healthy vending’ policies “refers to policies that increase the number of healthy choices in vending locations, which may include vending machines, concession stands, and other places where packaged or prepared food is sold.”


Labeling/Label Approval
United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS)
This website contains a number of resources including a labeling compliance guide and access to the Label Submission and Approval System (LSAS).  It also contains extensive FSIS guidance information on labeling procedures and policies, ingredients, claims, and nonfood-compounds.


Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing
Drake Agricultural Law Center
This website provides access to the Second Edition of The Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing, which covers topics ranging from licenses and inspections to zoning and buying clubs.  This site also provides direct marketing checklists, and lists of state contacts, among other reference tools.


Managing and Marketing the Direct Farm Business
Illinois Direct Farm Business
This website provides information and resources related to managing and marketing a direct farm business.  Topics include contracting, marketing, intellectual property, weights and measures, and estate planning.


Menu Labeling
Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law
This website describes public health advocacy efforts regarding menu labeling, and provides a link to a fact sheet on the Federal Menu Labelling Law, which was a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.


National Organic Program
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA-AMS)
This USDA website provides information on the National Organic Program, which is the program responsible for producing regulations and guidance on certification, production, handling, and labeling of USDA-certified organic products.


Nutrition Advertising Targeting Children
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Law Program
This website highlights legal issues related to food advertising to children, and provides links to relevant regulations and case law, in addition to policy proposals and reports.


Policy Briefs and Reports
Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity
This webpage provides access to The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity’s reports and policy briefs pertaining to food advertising, marketing and labeling. Examples include Food Marketing and Social Media by Johanna Richardson and Jennifer L. Harris, and Trends in Television Food Advertising to Young People: 2011 Update by Cathryn Dembek, Jennifer L. Harris, and Marlene B. Schwartz.


Product Verification
NON GMO Project
This website provides information on the Non-GMO Project’s product verification and label approval process.  The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization offering “North Americas only third-party verification and labeling for non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) food and products.”


Research by Topic: Food Labeling
National Agricultural Law Center
This website provides a general overview of food labeling, including an explanation of its history and the key issues.  Additionally, the site provides a list of links to relevant statutes, regulations, administrative decisions, and case law in the area of food labeling. 


Research by Topic: Marketing Orders
National Agricultural Law Center
This website provides links to federal statutes, regulations and case law pertaining to marketing orders, among others resources.


Small Scale Food Entrepreneurship: A Technical Guide for Food Ventures
Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station
This resource provides a broad range of information for food entrepreneurs.  Section IX of the publication specifically addresses labeling considerations and requirements.


Small Scale Organics: A Guidebook for the Non-Certified Organic Grower
The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture
This resource provides information about federal regulations of organic agriculture and Organic certification.  This resource specifically addresses issues relevant to producers who follow organic practices but are not legally certified as Organic.


Topic: Marketing
Farmers’ Legal Action Group
This website provides, “[i]nformation and advice about marketing contracts,” farmers’ market rules, and “[a]dvice and advocacy to ensure farmers are paid in accordance with the law.”  There are links to publications covering these key issues, including Understanding Farmers’ Market Rules and Understanding Farmers’ Rights to be Paid for Fruit and Vegetable Crops.


Trademark Basics
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
This website provides basic facts about trademarks, and specifically covers the importance of trademarks for small businesses.


Your Right to Know: Making Sense of Food Labeling
Center for Agriculture & Food Systems at Vermont Law School
This resource provides consumers with information necessary to make informed decisions about their food, and specifically provides information about food labels, including what information must be disclosed, what information can be voluntarily included, and what information is left out.  The page includes links to information on egg labels, meat labels, and third party certifications, among other resources.




Risk Management and Insurance

Farm Risk Management
Northeast Beginning Farmers Project
This website provides a brief overview of the various types of insurance necessary or helpful for risk prevention for farm owners.  There are also simple suggestions for ways to generally reduce your liability as a farm owner.


Farm Risk Planning: Risk Management Planning
United States Department of Agriculture, Risk Management Agency (USDA-RMA)
This website provides access to risk management planning and information and tools to help farmers “better understand areas in [their operations] where [they] might have downside risk exposure, and evaluate where [they] might have upside opportunities.”  The general topics covered include production risk, financial risk, human risk, and legal risk, among others.


Farms, Ranches, Small Businesses and the Affordable Care Act
North Dakota State University
This website provides basic overviews of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) impact on small farmers and ranchers, and provides links to websites where small businesses can shop for health insurance options under the ACA.


Legal Eats: Legal Resources for Food Justice Enterprises
The Sustainable Economies Law Center, East Bay Community Law Center & Students for Economic & Environmental Justice
This compressive guide addresses legal issues implicated in starting and running a food enterprise, and includes a section entitled: “FAQ on Liability, Insurance, and Risk Management for Food Enterprises & Urban Farms.”


Liability and Insurance – Part 5 of Legal Workshop for Community Food Enterprise
Sustainable Economies Law Center
This video gives an overview of liability and insurance issues for community food enterprises.  The video is part of a workshop series covering a variety of legal topics important for starting and running a community food enterprise.


Liability Protection for Food Donation
Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law
This resource “outlines liability protections at the federal and state level when donating food.”


Research by Topic: Landowner Liability
National Agricultural Law Center
This website provides an overview of “the major areas for potential landowner liability” for owners of agricultural land.  The page also contains links to the major statutes, regulations, case law and additional resources on landowner liability issues. 


Small Scale Food Entrepreneurship: A Technical Guide for Food Ventures
Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station
This resource provides a broad range of information for food entrepreneurs.  Information on business and marketing matters can be found in chapter II. 


The Guide: Common Questions about Farming Risk
New England Small Farm Institute
This website provides a list of common questions and answers on farm risk and liability.  The legal topics covered include handling regulations, insurance needs, and health care coverage, among others.


UrbanAgLaw Topics: Liability, Risk, and Insurance
Sustainable Economies Law Center
This website provides an overview of common liability and insurance issues and questions for urban agricultural operations.  The topics covered include specific insurance requirements, the amount of insurance required and alternative methods of liability and risk protection.




Urban Agriculture

Gardens
Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law
This website provides links to fact sheets, policy briefs and webinars addressing legal and policy issues that impact “the development and maintenance of [community, school and employer-sponsored] gardens.”


UrbanAgLaw.org
Sustainable Economies Law Center
This resource provides a range of legal information for urban agricultural enterprises in the United States.  The topics covered, which are listed under the “UrbanAgLaw Topics” bar, include employment laws, planning and zoning, and risk management and liability issues, among others.