Ohio Agricultural Law Symposium

 Catharine Daniels,  Attorney, OSU Extension Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Attorneys across Ohio recently came together for the 2013 Ohio Agricultural Law Symposium to learn about current legal issues for Ohio farmers and agribusinesses.  In a session about protecting the farm and agribusiness,  Cari Rincker, a food and agricultural law attorney in New York City, discussed why farm and agribusinesses might consider using a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to safeguard confidential business information.

An NDA is not typically a tool that a farm or agribusiness would think of using in a business transaction.  According to Rincker,  however, NDAs are underutilized in the food and agriculture industry.  Many farms and agribusinesses develop their own ideas, concepts, know-how, trade secrets, intellectual property, business plans or financial information.  Preventing other parties from disclosing these types of information can be important to the long-term health and viability of the farm or agribusiness.

Rincker highlighted two common situations for using an NDA.  One is when a farm or agribusiness is entering into business discussions with another party; confidential information could be disclosed during the course of these discussions.  For example, if a farmer approached a website developer about his or her proposed online agribusiness, that farmer may wish to have an NDA with the website developer to keep the business plan confidential.   The second situation concerns employees or independent contractors.  An NDA  binds employees and contractors to  confidentiality about private information they acquire from working for the business.  An agribusiness may want a bookkeeper to maintain confidentiality about business finances, for example.

What's in a Non-Disclosure Agreement?  According to Rincker,  an NDA  should address at least these questions:

  1. Who will be exchanging confidential information?
  2. What is the purpose of the exchange of confidential information?
  3. What type of information will be considered “confidential” for purposes of protection under the NDA?
  4. How can the confidential information be used and who can use it?
  5. How will the secrecy of the confidential information be maintained?
  6. How long will the confidentiality of the information be maintained?
  7. What are the consequences of a breach or misuse of the confidential information?

Maintenance of confidential information should not be taken lightly, states Rincker.  If your farm or agribusiness could be harmed by the disclosure of private information, talk with your attorney about an NDA.  For more information on NDAs, visit the Rincker Law website and blog at http://rinckerlaw.com/blog/.

The agenda is in place for the fourth annual Ohio Agricultural Law Symposium, a program for attorneys and others working in the agricultural arena.  The Symposium takes place on Friday, November 18 at The Ohio State University's Ohio Union and features state and national experts on the most current legal and policy issues facing Ohio agriculture.

Nine topics are packed into the day-long program, including presentations by Ohio Senator Cliff Hite, Washington D.C. agricultural policy consultant Dale Moore and American Farm Bureau attorney Danielle Quist.  Ohio attorneys and experts will speak on Livestock Care Standards, agri-environmental law, USDA audits, CAUV, oil and gas development and estate planning.   Here is the complete agenda for the day:

Welcome Peggy Hall, Director, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program

Chesapeake TMDL:  EPA’s New Framework for Watershed Regulation    

Danielle Quist, Senior Counsel for Public Policy, American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, D.C.

Nutrient-Enriched Lakes, Livestock Emissions, and Other Hot Environmental Topics for Ohio Agriculture    

Jack Van Kley, Van Kley and Walker LLC, Columbus

Enforcing Ohio’s New Livestock Care Standards    

James Patterson, Assistant Attorney General, State of Ohio

The Office of Inspector General Audit: Preventing and Detecting Waste, Fraud and Abuse    

Diana Blust, Senior Auditor, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General

Current Issues in Current Agricultural Use Valuation     

Larry Gearhardt, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Columbus

Representing Landowners in Oil and Gas Leases and Mineral Disputes (Concurrent 1)    

Richard A. Yoss, Yoss Law Office, Woodsfield

Estate Planning for Farmers in an Era of  New Laws and New Wealth (Concurrent 2)      

Beatrice Wolper, Emens & Wolper Law Firm, Columbus Paul L. Wright, Wright Law Co., LPA, Dublin

Fighting for Agriculture in Washington: The Farm Bill and other Farm Policy Issues    

Dale W. Moore, Vice President, Policy Directions, Inc, Washington, D.C.  

Legislative Outlook for Ohio Agriculture    

Senator Cliff Hite, Chair, Ohio Senate Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee

The Ohio Agricultural Law Symposium is a partnership project of OSU's Agricultural & Resource Law Program and the Ohio State Bar Association and its Agricultural Law Committee.  The goal of the Symposium is to provide a forum for education, discussion and interaction on legal issues for Ohio agriculture.  As in the past, OSU offers scholarships for law students to attend the Symposium at no cost through the support of the Paul L. Wright Agricultural Law endowment fund.

The Symposium brochure  provides additional information about the program.

Ohio Agricultural Law Symposium will take place September 17, 2010

Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio State Bar Association will again partner to provide the third annual Ohio Agricultural Law Symposium on September 17, 2010.  The continuing legal education event targets the educational needs of attorneys who work in agricultural and rural arenas.  Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer leads our slate of speakers; he'll provide an update on relevant case law impacting agriculture.  Joining the Justice will be  Jesse Richardson, Assoc. Prof. from Virginia Tech and Policy Advisor for the Water Resources Council, who will address water law and ethics in counseling farm families.  Duane Siekman, CEO of the Ohio Corn Growers and Ohio Wheat Growers Associations, will present on energy and agriculture, and  Tony Logan, Ohio's USDA Rural Development State Director, will provide an update from his office.  The local food and farming landscape, a growing practice area for agricultural and rural attorneys, will be the topic of discussion from Jill Clark with OSU's Center for Farmland Policy Innovation.  Attorneys Robert Moore and Dave Pennington of Wright Law Company will present on proving damages in agricultural litigation, and attorneys David Pryor and Greg Flax will lead a panel discussion on growing the agricultural law practice.  I'll provide a presentation on the legal issues attendant to undercover operations on the farm. 

The Symposium will take place at The Ohio State University on the Friday before an Ohio football showdown between OSU and Ohio University--attorneys can come for the education and stay for the game.  For more information, visit the Ohio State Bar Association CLE link at http://www.ohiobar.org or click here for the Symposium Brochure 2010.

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