Agribusiness and Livestock

Agribusiness and Livestock

BrownWinick lawyers practicing in the agribusiness area collectively have over 200 years of legal experience working with clients to add value to their businesses.

Agriculture is big business in Iowa and in the Upper Midwest. Iowa leads the nation in production of corn, soybeans, hogs and eggs. Other areas of production agriculture, such as milk, grape and organic/natural foods are rapidly expanding. Processing and adding value to the tremendous amount of raw agricultural products produced in Iowa has always been important, and it is even more so today as those activities create wealth and create good jobs that support tens of thousands of Iowa families.

As agricultural businesses have become larger or more specialized, they have required more sophisticated and specialized legal advice on matters including business organization decisions, financing and incentive packages, tax issues, regulatory requirements, employee matters, and contracts for the production and sale of products and inputs. Agribusiness owners and operators know that BrownWinick has provided all of these services for years to many of Iowa's leading agribusinesses and agribusiness trade associations.

BrownWinick lawyers practicing in the agribusiness area collectively have over 200 years of legal experience working with clients to add value to their businesses. Whether helping a young farmer acquire his or her first farm, merging neighboring co-operative grain elevators, assisting a wine producer with regulatory issues or leading negotiations for a livestock producer on a multi-year contract for the sale of billions of dollars of agricultural products, BrownWinick agribusiness lawyers have done it.

Our agribusiness attorneys serve a diverse range of clients, including family farmers, agribusiness trade associations, livestock producers, grape growers, organic producers, agricultural cooperatives, ethanol producers, grain elevators, seed companies, livestock genetic companies, chemical/fertilizer companies and dealers and many other agriculture-related businesses. Many of our clients are involved in cutting-edge biotechnology, value-added agriculture and further processing of raw commodities.

We provide advice to our clients on matters such as entity organizational, financing and securities law issues, environmental compliance issues, Iowa's corporate farming laws, contracts, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and estate and family business succession planning. BrownWinick's agribusiness team also offers its clients a strong legislative and regulatory presence in Iowa. We have a number of registered lobbyists at the Iowa statehouse each legislative session, and our attorneys have extensive experience in monitoring and shaping rules and regulations that affect our client's businesses.

Cattle Feedlots

At BrownWinick, our partnership with agribusiness extends to those in the cattle industry, including representation of venture capital groups, banks and others looking to expand their businesses. BrownWinick also represents a number of large-scale feedlots including Iowa's largest independently owned feedlot. Cattle feeding operations are heavily regulated and subject to a great deal of public scrutiny. BrownWinick is available to help navigate the extensive rules and regulations applicable to cattle feeding operations and to assist with appropriate planning and operational decisions from a legal standpoint.

BrownWinick offers a wide range of services to those in the cattle industry, including assistance in drafting business plans, forming and organizing the business, structuring financing, planning for air and water quality concerns, environmental and regulatory compliance and any other legal issues that may arise. We represent our clients in litigation and administrative proceedings as well as including proceedings with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Additionally, our extensive lobbying presence helps us seek legislative and governmental solutions to the industry's problems. We listen closely to our client's needs and goals and are firmly committed to helping you reach them.


Cooperatives continue to be a leading force in Iowa's agricultural business landscape. At BrownWinick we not only understand how cooperatives work, but we have led the way in making sure that cooperative law matches the innovations in cooperative management and finance by working closely with the Iowa Legislature to write laws that allow cooperatives to continue to maintain their leadership in Iowa's agribusiness community. In the cooperative structure arena, we assist cooperatives with mergers, setting up joint projects, conversions to or from cooperatives from other kinds of business organizations, and dealing with regional cooperative issues. In the business area, we work with cooperative clients to assist them with contracting, real estate transfers and acquisitions, employment issues and litigation.


Milk production is increasing in Iowa and is expected to grow significantly as dairymen and dairywomen in the United States and around the world seek to locate new milking operations near ethanol plants and the distiller's grains they produce. Iowa also has significant milk processing and further processing operations that demand high-quality milk. Cheese production is also strong in both Iowa and in nearby states such as Wisconsin and Minnesota.

BrownWinick represents a number of dairies (start-ups and acquisitions) and dairy-related businesses, including large milking operations and dairy trade associations. We advise our dairy industry clients on a variety of matters including business structure and financing options, permitting, Iowa's complex corporate farming laws, and contracts for matters including milk sales, manure application easements, forage procurement, and replacement heifers. BrownWinick attorneys have been at the forefront of developments in Iowa environmental laws affecting the livestock industry, with major legislation enacted in 1995, 1998 and 2002. Our litigation attorneys also have significant experience in cases affecting dairy and other livestock operations.

Grapes and Wine

Iowa has one of the fastest growing grape and wine industries in the United States, increasing from just a handful of licensed wineries and fifty acres in 2000 to more than 70 wineries and several hundred acres in 2007. BrownWinick has been actively involved from the beginning, serving as legal counsel to the Iowa Wine Growers Association and several of Iowa's largest wineries, including the state's only cooperative winery.

BrownWinick also represents numerous vineyards and vineyard-related businesses. BrownWinick's representation of clients in the grape and wine industry is all-encompassing. The firm assists clients with business planning and organization, locating and obtaining grant funds, debt and equity capital, including private placements of equity securities, licensing and regulatory issues and contract matters. Our lobbyists also closely monitor legislative developments of interest to the industry. We have also assisted vineyard owners in resolving disputes involving spray drift issues.


Iowa is a leader in the poultry industry and BrownWinick is happy to counsel start ups and existing businesses on issues such as general corporate matters, financing or restructuring operations, and compliance with environmental and other regulations. Due to the highly competitive nature of the industry, we oversee both U.S. and foreign trademark registrations and otherwise work to protect the trade secrets of our clients by counseling on how to improve and protect their systems, and protect any technology that is developed. To further our clients' businesses, we have also negotiated research agreements with major universities. Our full range of legal services include representation in front of administrative agencies and negotiations with governmental bodies, such as the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Attorney General's office, and litigation of any remaining issues. Our respected governmental relations group also helps us persuade legislators and regulators for our client's behalf.


Iowa is the nation's leading hog producer and pork processor. BrownWinick represents hog producers of all sizes, not only in Iowa, but in most hog producing states. We also represent a number of pork processing businesses in Iowa and throughout the country.

Our pork industry clients look to us for advice on all aspects of their businesses, including business structure and financing, contract preparation and negotiation, corporate farming laws and administrative and legislative representation. BrownWinick attorneys have been heavily involved in environmental laws, rules and issues that impact the pork sector, both at the federal and state levels. Our litigation attorneys represent our pork industry clients in contract, tort, employment, worker's compensation and nuisance defense cases.

Agribusiness and Livestock Attorneys

BrownWinick's AgTech Group

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