Agricultural Law and Natural Resources

The attorneys at Lenhart Pettit have a long tradition of representing agribusiness, their managers and owners; from traditional farming operations involved in dairy, poultry, beef, orchards and crops, to integrated producers.  Recently we have helped develop agribusinesses producing organic meat, dairy products, wine, herbs and produce of all sorts. Related businesses like nurseries, water gardens, farmers’ markets, and ecotourism oriented farms have all expanded and strengthened our agricultural law practice.

The remarkable success of the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative, which our attorneys helped establish and grow, coupled with the national farm to table, “local grown” food movement has reinvigorated the farm economy. We have created numerous agricultural cooperatives throughout Virginia in a wide variety of agricultural ventures. We value and care about the sustainability of Virginia’s largest business sector – Agriculture. Our lawyers assist clients with conservation easements, farm succession planning and protection and stewardship of natural resources such as timber, water, natural gas, minerals, wind and solar.

Our Harrisonburg office is situated on the eastern boarder of the Marcellus and Utica Shales, positioning the firm’s attorneys to exploit years of experience in representing landowners in negotiations with gas companies. Harrisonburg is located in Rockingham County, the largest agricultural county in the Commonwealth.

Our Charlottesville office is in the middle of the rapidly expanding vineyard and wine business in Virginia. Albemarle County and the surrounding counties have many farms with productive crop, timber and pasture land for livestock and horses.

The following is representative of our work

  • Beverage Law.  With the proliferation of wineries, vineyards, breweries, cideries and distilleries, we have formed a Beverage Law Practice Group to keep up with the new trends.
  • Agribusinesses.  In addition to the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative, we have provided counsel and helped develop many agribusiness companies, large and small, that produce food for use both domestically and internationally. Lenhart Pettit’s tax and business experience provides a solid foundation for helping agribusiness ventures choose the right entity, whether a cooperative, limited liability company, or corporation.
  • Farm Succession Planning.  Lenhart Pettit’s attorneys have assisted thousands of families in solving the challenging problem of how to divide a farm, a spring, a unique scenic or natural resource, a family mountain retreat, or the gas, solar or wind potential of certain real estate holdings among the next generation of owners. Our estate tax attorneys not only minimize, if not eliminate, estate and gift taxes, they are highly skilled in minimizing the family tension that goes along with developing the appropriate division plan. We also assist with preservation of farmland through conservation easements, negotiation of farm financings, and the use of available tax credits.
  • Natural Resources.  We served as counsel to Virginia’s first permitted wind farm, and have negotiated many wind farm leases, water agreements, timber contracts, and mineral and gas contracts and leases.

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