Livestock, Dairy, Processing and P&S

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Kutak Rock has substantial experience with nearly all aspects of animal agriculture. Our attorneys have defended operators in actions by regulatory authorities and assisted in the expansion and operation of large livestock entities. We have extensive experience representing some of the largest (and smallest) packers and processors in environmental, breach of contract, warehousing, import and export, among many other issues faced by the packing industry. We also represent producers faced with legal disputes that could impact their viability going forward. In issues involving  legal disputes or business planning, expansion or acquisition, Kutak Rock has almost certainly been there before with regard to production livestock agriculture.

Issues we expect to continue to play out over the next decade include:

  • Consolidation in the pork industry generally.
  • Increasing number of carcass contracts between packers and producers.
  • Federal and state environmental standards will increase legal pressure on livestock producers and packers to address how they conduct business.
  • Air quality regulations may impact all facets of animal agriculture.
  • Nuisance laws plus increased zoning regulations by cities and counties may make it more difficult for agribusiness expansion, new open feedlots or confinement operations.
  • Media-hyped disease and food scares will continue to be a significant challenge to animal agriculture.


Government regulation and market volatility continue to make it challenging for producers and dairy processors to conduct business. Dairy producers face continued increased environmental regulations involving new facilities, waste disposal, air quality and disease outbreak. These regulations put pressure on dairies to change production practices. Further, budgetary problems in Washington and encroachment by suburbs limit some dairies in their efforts to conduct and expand their businesses.

Kutak Rock agribusiness attorneys have substantial experience with nearly all facets of the dairy industry and have handled nearly all kinds of environmental disputes and enforcement actions, including some of the largest livestock environmental cases in the United States. We have substantial experience with nuisance cases and livestock zoning and in working with and advocating for clients in USDA and FDA regulatory forums. Our agribusiness attorneys’ knowledge of the dairy industry and background with a broad array of legal issues facing dairies in the United States allow us to approach the legal planning and issues faced by dairies with significant understanding.

Processing and Packers & Stockyards Act

Kutak Rock attorneys regularly help clients from the feedlot to the packing plant navigate the complex and constantly changing state and federal regulations that impact the supply chain. Our attorneys have long experience interacting with state and federal regulators and can ensure our clients’ relationships with their regulators is a positive one.

Feed additives, discharge, nuisance claims, downer cattle, zoning—the issues facing feed yards, stockyards, poultry barns, sale barns and packing plants are as diverse as the business models these entities follow. Our firm has advised clients regarding the Packers and Stockyards Act, and litigated claims for violations of the Act. We also have worked with clients to draft and negotiate contracts involving everything from purchases of feed lots and stockyards to feed supplies and hog carcasses. Our attorneys understand the competing rights of lenders and sale barns in selling livestock subject to a security interest.

Our attorneys understand the unique issues facing processing facilities because we’ve worked with clients in this area on everything from securing bonds to addressing state and federal regulatory issues. We can advantageously assist with grazing rights conflicts and can assist clients facing pressure from animal rights groups or other activists who lack understanding of modern feeding and processing practices.

Our agribusiness attorneys have actually been in a sale barn and attended a cattle auction. We know the difference between a Clydesdale and a Friesian and a barrow and a gilt, and we provide the same extensive expertise to each client, whether it’s a small, family owned operation or a large packing plant entering the international market.