Dean Mead’s Agribusiness Industry Team has a long history of representing businesses, multi-generational families and individuals engaged in agribusiness operations throughout Florida. Our Team includes attorneys from every department and office throughout the firm, so we are able to provide clients with comprehensive legal counsel that addresses all aspects of their operations, which includes agribusinesses involved in citrus, cattle, timber, vegetables, turf, sod ornamentals and aquaculture.
Keeping You Up to Date
The needs of agribusiness vary widely, and change constantly. We help our clients stay economically viable by keeping you abreast of changes in the laws governing food production, taxation, transportation, the environment and land development. Dean Mead’s Agribusiness Team is made up of attorneys from each of the firm’s different practice areas for exactly this reason.
As new laws and regulations continue to affect Florida agribusiness, Dean Mead keeps clients up-to-date and in compliance. During the 2013 legislative session, there were many issues debated which had the potential to affect agribusiness, such as water quality regulation, agricultural water supply, modifications to the agricultural exemption laws and agritourism liability protections. Our Agribusiness Industry Team monitored these debates throughout the session, updating clients on important developments. The firm’s “Florida Legislative Update” briefing series and events like our Florida Agriculture Financial Management Conference are just two examples of outreach initiatives where we share our knowledge and insight year-round.
Staying Involved for Your Interests
In Florida, water use policy is more complex and more critical than in many parts of the country. Our Agribusiness Team members were actively involved in monitoring the years-long dispute over Numeric Nutrient Standards in regulations proposed for Florida by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the federal Clean Water Act, and the federal/state compromises which ultimately developed. As new water quality standards are imposed and implemented, and as demand for water increases, and awareness of water quality and quantity issues spreads, we help Florida agribusiness understand and plan for these coming changes, and navigate an ever-more complex regulatory environment to identify opportunities.
Preparing for the Future
Dean Mead’s Agribusiness Team has worked on many projects at the forefront of Florida’s water issues throughout the state, from the Indian River Lagoon Estuary to Fisheating Creek, the Kissimmee River Basin, the Myakka River, the St. Johns River and other watersheds. From negotiating federal and state conservation, landscape and other easements over agricultural land, to helping develop plans for dispersed water storage and innovative “water farming” solutions, our team is helping to develop the answers Florida’s agriculture will need in the very near future, and helping our clients understand and prepare for that future. And this industry-specific work is complemented by the work we do for agribusiness clients in the structuring, tax planning and operation of their business entities, succession planning for family businesses and many other areas of concern. Our Agribusiness Industry Team strives to be a resource that is prepared to partner with clients to help meet whatever challenges their business brings their way.
Payment for Environmental Services and Water Farming
Our attorneys have been actively involved with water management districts and other agencies and not-for-profit organizations as they develop pilot projects and review criteria for innovative water management and environmental restoration projects on agricultural lands. Compensation to landowners under this type of arrangement is being referred to as “payment for environmental services”. In addition to “water farming” plans which simply hold water in times of high supply, we have worked with State and Federal officials and with landowners to craft projects involving water supply, water treatment and the potential of layering environmental benefits to provide a menu of environmental services for which the landowner may be compensated. This is a rapidly-evolving area of our practice, and appears to hold great promise for our firm’s clients, as public-private partnerships are developed to address water quality and water quantity issues, while giving private stewards both the means and incentives to preserve environmentally sensitive lands.