Beyond being tough as all hell, growing food is not that different from most businesses: you aim to keep costs down, work hard, and with a little luck you should be well positioned for growth. But farming faces unique challenges: it is more capital intensive than most, its products are extraordinarily fragile and perishable, and it has regulatory requirements through a series of Acts that are unique to the production to food. These challenges make planning hard, and when innovative farmers face regulatory bodies or seek to make business decisions, it helps to know the where, when and how regulation and business law interfaces with food production.
Provincial and Federal Regulation
If you are contemplating whether an initiative is regulated, you should probably start with the notion that it is. Provincial Acts regulate agricultural spokespeople and societies, research, workers, animal health, insurance risk, suppliers and customers, and farm land generally. The federal government has further regulation that is carried out through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which enforces fifteen acts and touches on roughly a dozen more. With this amount of regulation, having a lawyer review an operation is critical to ensuring that your business avoids complications and remains compliant with our legislative framework.
Changes to the Marketplace
The market is changing. Consumers are demanding different products and different methods. With those demands come different suppliers and distributors and a truly different way of doing business. You might start working with pureline grains for local demand, you might start producing food in your kitchen for sale. This means added complexity: more contracts with more organizations, which means you need to pay attention to the terms of those deals. Having a lawyer manage your contracts means that you can do what you do best and the legal relationships between agri-food businesses and those who get food to market can be consistent or at least charted and understood, so you can manage your risk without worrying.