What is Agricultural Law?
Agricultural law refers to those statutes, rulings and regulations related to a broad range of activities:
- Soil preparation
- Seed planting
- Crop harvesting
- Dairy operations
Generally, the laws govern these activities as they are carried out in a commercial setting.
The Source of Agricultural Laws
Agricultural laws are found at both the state and the federal levels. Many states have statutes governing agricultural production and agricultural labor, such as laws addressing the rights of agricultural workers to unionize.
Two federal statutes have a significant impact on the U.S. agricultural industry:
- The Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act sets standards for the transportation and housing of migrants and other seasonal agricultural workers, and addresses issues related to wages.
- The Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 revises and simplifies government payments for crops and eliminates milk price supports.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture
The USDA was founded during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, when nearly 6 of every 10 Americans was a farmer. The USDA now oversees food safety programs, as well as the management of range lands across the country. The national food stamps, school lunch (and breakfast), and WIC programs also fall under the USDA’s authority.
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