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Ever thought about a career as an agricultural lawyer?

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It is a well-used phrase that the world will always need lawyers. In the case of agriculture, regulation only ever seems to increase; therefore, it is always a good time to consider being an agricultural lawyer. In fact, with farming becoming ever more important on a national, international and global level, how it is regulated is likely to come under ever increasing scrutiny.

If you want to help farmers find their way through the maze of agricultural law, and make their lives that bit easier, why not think about becoming an agricultural lawyer? Not only is it rewarding in terms of job satisfaction, but the career prospects are also very good indeed.

Broad spectrum

Agricultural law covers a huge range of issues. Much of these are to do with property, which affects farmers of every kind. Buying and selling anything relating to an agricultural business can come with a lot of technical details, all of which need bottoming out. With many farmers on the tightest of budgets, ensuring buyer and sellers pay and receive exactly what they should is vital.

As agriculture is a real world, immediate industry, any disputes which arise can often need solving very quickly. Unlike some farming jobs, being an agricultural lawyer means having a real understanding of the industry, as well as a sound legal base. If a vital piece of machinery or even livestock is having a negative effect on the operating life of a business, time is of the essence.

Being an agricultural lawyer means seeing both the big picture and the smallest details. It means building a relationship with your clients, so they trust you to take the right action and give the right advice. Not only do disputes need to be settled quickly, but future business relationships also need to be nurtured and protected.

Compensation issues

Agricultural businesses can be disrupted by a huge range of factors, from the weather to political decisions. Often, changes are imposed on businesses which can have huge implications for their viability. In these cases, the issue of compensation can mean the difference between staying afloat or going under, with ramifications that affect many agricultural jobs.

Infrastructure projects such as the HS2 railway are a case in point. The route this line is to take will affect thousands of livelihoods in agriculture across central and southern England. While there is a compensation framework in place to help farmers, getting access to it is something which requires the expertise of an agricultural lawyer.

Compulsory purchase orders are placed on agricultural land for other reasons than major works such as the HS2. Planning decisions made by local authorities can have just as much of an impact on agricultural business. The earlier you as an agricultural lawyer can get to grips with likely developments, the better prepared your clients will be.

Rights and responsibilities

Farming businesses of all kinds come with their own rights and responsibilities. For livestock farmers, responsibilities are very clearly defined and enforced by government agencies. Agricultural lawyers help farmers keep within things like milk quotas, to make sure the business is not liable for a hefty fine. Other livestock responsibilities include cattle passports and correct identification of animals.

Employment law is also very important when applied to agricultural businesses. With the seasonal nature of some farming jobs, hiring and firing of labour has to be done correctly, whatever the circumstances. Employment contracts will differ with the type of business and what likely external influences might affect them. This might involve the relocation of workers or compromising agreements.

As farmers often depend on subsidies to keep their businesses viable, they need to be sure they can depend on them. The Basic Payment Scheme is essential for UK farmers, and needs to be administered and accessed correctly. Compliance with the Rural Payments Agency is also vital, and farmers may have the right to access funds from the Rural Development Programme, private storage aid or other intervention schemes.

Ensuring continued access to all appropriate funding streams is one of the essential tasks carried out by an agricultural lawyer.

Career opportunities

Agricultural lawyer opportunities are available all year round, but obviously, require some Post Qualification Experience (PQE). This will vary from 1 to about 3 years, depending on which position you apply for. Once you have decided to go into agricultural law, you will find opportunities anywhere there are agricultural businesses.

This could mean working in any part of the country, or further afield. Developing countries with expanding populations require agriculture in all its forms, sometimes urgently. If you would like the chance to do really useful work abroad, a grounding in agricultural law could be an excellent way to get in at the ground level.

As there are so many aspects to agricultural law that could be perfect for your career development. You might choose to specialise in conveyancing, which in the case of agricultural businesses, is often done on a large scale. This could be a very handy skill set to possess in the future, and not just for agricultural jobs. Skilled agricultural lawyers should be in a good position to obtain surveyor jobs in other industries.

For anyone interested in animal welfare, a career as an agricultural lawyer could be extremely rewarding. Welfare standards are not uniform by any means from country to country and improving them requires the right design and application of legal restrictions. Again, especially in developing countries, this could be vital work. In terms of animal health jobs, an agricultural lawyer is a very important position.

Competitive salaries

Any legal career should be financially rewarding, straight from graduate training. From a basic income of £20,000 per annum, after 2 to 5 years this could be anything from £27,000 to £50,000 a year. With some agricultural legal jobs requiring a high degree of specialisation, this could rise quite considerably.

Whereas demand for lawyers in other “fields” might be variable, the importance of agriculture means that Ag lawyers should maintain a meaningful level of job security. Combined with what could be very satisfying work, becoming an agricultural lawyer is one of many agricultural jobs well worth considering.

Agricultural Recruitment Specialists are worldwide recruitment experts in agricultural, food, farming and rural recruitment and have a variety of executive and management positions available within agriculture, horticulture and the food and rural sectors throughout the UK and the rest of the world. To find out more about our agricultural job vacancies and discuss your future career, contact our team of agricultural recruitment professionals. You can visit our website here: or call our team on: 01905 345 155 or email us at:

Alternatively, if you are a client looking to expand your team, whilst using a professional recruitment / headhunting solution, then please call us today on 01905 345155 or email us at: