Agricultural Contracts What Should I Consider

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					Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




Agricultural Contracts:
What Should I Consider?
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




 Why is contract use increasing?
        Marketing's 4 P’s
        • Product
        • Place
        • Price
        • Promotion (Channeling)
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers


New Dynamics
  • New Relationship between Buyer and Seller
          • Cooperative rather than adversarial
          • Loss of managerial control?


  • Buyers tend to write agreements.
          • Set the terms.
          • Evaluate the performance.
          • Make the payment.


  • The 5 P’s of Contract Evaluation.
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers


 Contract Classification
  • Sales Contracts

  • Bailment Contracts

  • Personal Service Contracts

  • Pool Contracts (New Generation)

                                  Sources: Kunkel and Larison, Hamilton
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




 Sales Contract
 • Sales Contracts: An agreement to accept
   or deliver a specified quantity of grain or
   soybeans with a minimum content of a
   specified physical trait, chemical trait, or
   produced using a specified management
   contract.
     – These contracts subject to provisions of the
       Uniform Commercial Code.
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




 Bailment Contract

  • Bailment Contracts: A bailment is a
    legal relationship which exists when
    someone else is entrusted with the
    possession of property, but has no
    ownership interest in it.

      – Provides the contractor with protection of
        unauthorized distribution of seed.
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




 Personal Service Contract
   • Personal Service Contracts: Contractor
     supplies most of the non-land inputs, an may be
     closely involved with management.
       – In essence, the grower receives compensation for
         land, labor and machinery.
       – Typically, the producer does not own the
         commodity.
       – In general, the UCC provisions for the sale of
         commodities will not be applicable to personal
         service contracts.
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




  Pool (Next Generation) Contract

   • Delivery by producer to a closed “New
     Generation” cooperative jointly owned
     and operated by a group of producers.
       – Purpose of the cooperative is to add value to
         the raw commodity.
       – Growers purchase equity instruments in
         proportion to the producer’s right and
         commitment to deliver.
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Contract Checklist




     A few things to consider in
     terms of risk management ...
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




 Why write contracts?

 •

 •

 •
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




 Why sign a contract ?

 •

 •

 •
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




Specific Contract Concerns
  Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers


Price Determination ...
• Clarity:    Are the terms of payment clearly written?

• Timing:     When is the crop/livestock priced?
              Is the schedule of payments firmly set?
              Does the schedule meet cash flow requirements?

• Premiums/Bonuses:
           How are premiums/bonuses calculated?
           When are premiums paid?
           Can you examine the premium/bonus calculations?

• Taxes:      How is tax liability affected by contract type?
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 Investment
 • Facilities and Equipment
     –   Invest in additional equipment of facilities?
     –   Special drying, storage (IP), irrigation?
     –   Is the equipment certified?
     –   Who owns the facility? Exclusivity of use?

 • If More Investment ...
     – Does contract duration cover investment?
     – Contract termination before cost recovery?
     – Who get permits and pays fees?
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




 Production

 • Costs:        What are the production costs?
                 Where are cost estimates available?
                 Don’t forget additional managerial time!


 • Inputs:       Must inputs come from a particular source?
                 Are inputs more expensive than normal?
                 Who provides feed? Balanced rations?
 Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




Livestock Particulars
  • Feed:       If produce own, how is it priced?
                Who sets rations?
  • Health:     Who’s responsible for livestock health?
                How is death loss handled?
  • Facilities: Who owns the facilities? Exclusive Use?
                How are repairs made?
                Liability insurance required?
                What are the depreciation costs?
  • Manure: Who handles manure?
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers



Crop Particulars
 • Yield:        What is the expected yield? “normal”
                 Yield penalty? (Gross Revenue!)
                 Yields more variable with inclement
                 weather?
 • IP:           Use preservation practices?
                 Additional record keeping?
                 Segregation in field?
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




 Crop Condition
   • What are condition requirements? Reasonable?
   • Who conducts quality tests? When?
   • How are quality disagreements resolved?
   • If a portion of the crop does not achieve quality
     rating, is the entire crop penalized?
   • If the specialty grain is rejected, can it be sold
     on the open (generic) market? Are there
     discounts?
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




 Amount Produced ...
 • Quantity requirement:
   Is there a set quantity requirement?
   Penalty if the quantity requirement is not met?
   Does the grower find supplies if short?
   Is the grower responsible for unforeseen
   events?
   Can location and quantity be adjusted for bad
   planting weather?
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers


Delivery Site and Date
• Where is delivery to be made?
• Are there special handling procedures?
• Who pays for delivery to the site?
• When does delivery occur?
   Is the date in the contract? If not, who sets the date?
• Is there a penalty for late/early delivery?
   What if late delivery is beyond your control?
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Managerial Control?
• Know Yourself: Able to meet contract specifications?
                 Willing to meet contract specifications?
• Know the Relationship:
   –   Authority to enforce obligations?
   –   Can contractor enter land and work on crops?
   –   Do other parties (e.g., spouse) need to approve?
   –   For unforeseen circumstances, who retains control over the
       decision making process?
  Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers



 Counter Party Risk

• Has the the other party provided financial statements?
• Have references been provided?
• Is the contractor bonded for this type of obligation?
• Is the contractor committed to the region? Made fixed
  investment? Is this the buyer’s core business?
 Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers



Dispute Resolution
• Does the contract provide for dispute resolution? A
  mediator? Arbitration?
   – Alternative dispute resolution is cheaper than litigation!
   – Mediation is negotiation between the contractor and
      grower facilitated by neutral third party.
   – Arbitration requires third party to evaluate issues and
     render a decision (usually binding).
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Choice of Law/Venue
 • If the contractor is from another state -- does the
   contract specify the state law that applies? Is the
   choice of law fair?
 • Does the contract set a location for any lawsuits
   that might be filed? Is this location fair?
 • Does the contract permit renegotiation or
   nullification if the laws governing the contract
   changes?
 Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers



Termination Clauses
 • Under what conditions does termination occur?
    – Who determines if conditions are met?
    – Are the conditions objective or at the contractor’s
      discretion?
    – Can the contract be terminated for minor breaches?
    – When can the grower terminate the contract?
 • Is the grower given the opportunity to correct the
   problem?
 • How much notice is given?
 Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers



Consult With Others ...
 • The Attorney ...
        to check out legal terms and obligations.
 • Financial and Technical Experts …
        to explore the financial and tax consequences of the
          contract process.
 • Other Producers and Buyers …
        good advice from those that have been there.
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




 References
 •   Foster, K. 1993.“Production and Marketing Contracts in the Pork Industry.”
     Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service Publication EC-675.
 •   Hamilton, Neil D. 1995. A Farmer's Legal Guide to Production Contracts,
     Farm Journal, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. 1995.
 •   Kunkel, P. and S. Larison. 1998. “Agriculture Production Contracts.”
     University of Minnesota Extension Service Publication FO-7302-GO. St. Paul
     MN. www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/businessmanagement/DF7302.html
 •   Swanson, B. 2002. “Specialty Grain Contract Production: Check List of
     Important Considerations.” Illinois Specialty Farm Products Web Site.
     web.aces.uiuc.edu/value/contracts/contracts.htm
 •   Swinton, S and L. Martin. 1997. “A Contract on Hogs: A Decision Case.”
     Review of Agricultural Economics. Vol. 19. No. 1:207-218.
 •   USDA. Contracting in Agriculture: Making the Right Decision.
     www.ams.usda.giv/contracting/contracting.htm
Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers




Strategic Business Planning for
Commercial Producers