Commercial Transactions




Modern agriculture is dominated by complex commercial transactions that are often highly regulated and involve legal issues unique to agriculture. These transactions are primarily governed by state law, which is subject to the vagaries of each state’s legislature and subsequent judicial interpretation. Agricultural transactions cover many areas of commercial law including the sale of goods, leasing, contract law, secured transactions, and commodity futures trading. In order to provide the business community with some certainty in transactions and to facilitate complex transactions that may cross state boundaries, most jurisdictions have adopted the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), with only minor variations between different states, to govern the majority of commercial transactions. This overview focuses primarily on agricultural commercial transactions relating to the sale and leasing of goods associated with agriculture. Agricultural production contracts are often viewed as contracts for personal services. Read the full overview


Note: Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections.

Major Statutes

Uniform Commercial Code

Commodity Exchange Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 1-27f

Updated Compilation of States’ Statutory Agricultural Lien Charts


Commodity Futures Trading Commission Regulations (CFTC), 17 C.F.R. pts. 1-190

Federal Register Rules Open for Comment

Case Law

Case Law Index for Commercial Transactions

Administrative Law Decisions

CFTC Opinions and Adjudicatory Orders

CFTC Enforcement Orders and Complaints

CFTC Letters

Center Research Publications

State Level Overview of Laws Addressing the Regulation of Grain Sales and Storage (Rumley & Fritts, 2014)

Legal and Business Guide for Specialty Crop Producers (National AgLaw Center & U. AR Division of Agriculture)

Updated Statutory Agricultural Lien Charts (Springsteen & Fiser, 2009)

Forms and Filing Information: U.C.C. Filings (Springsteen, 2009)

States’ Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Statutes (Rumley, 2009)

2005 Commercial Law Update (Meyer, 2006)

Hedge to Arrive Contracts: Futures or Forwards (Gokhalé, 2005)

Commercial Laws in the United States Relating to Bailments (Kershen, 2004)

Congressional Research Service Reports

CRS Subject(s):


Agricultural Law Bibliography

Introduction   |   Keyword Search   |   Browse Categories

Legal publications on Commercial Transactions:

Commodities Futures
Finance and Credit
Land Sales/Real Estate Finance, Mortgages/Foreclosures
Livestock and Packers & Stockyards
Uniform Commercial Code

Reference Resources

Other Federal Resources

Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Additional Resources

Commercial Transactions Posts (Ag & Food Law Blog)

Commercial Law: An Overview (Cornell Legal Information Institute)

A Short Course Introducing Commodity Markets and Futures Trading

Agricultural Commodities and Futures (Risk Management Series, MO Ext.)


Reports on the State of Agricultural Commodity Markets (FAO)

The UCC and Food (Weise, Business Law Today, 2009)

A Selected Review of Agricultural Commodity Futures and Options Markets (Garcia and Leuthold, 2004)

Legal Issues Involving Cash Forward Grain Contracts (McEowen, Kansas State University Ext. Service, 1999)

A Legal Guide for Wisconsin Farmers (2011)

Options Trading in Agricultural Commodities (Erickson & Hurt, IN Ext., 1985)

Keith G. Meyer, A Garden Variety of UCC Issues Dealing with Agriculture, 58 U. Kan. L Rev. 1119 (2010).

Bartholomew M. Botta, Personal Liability for Corporate Debts: The Reach of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Continues to Expand, 2 Drake J. Aric. L. 339 (1997).


Non-Legal Recommended Readings and Publications (not freely available electronically):

Merchant’s Edge: A Complete Guide to Grain Merchandising (Lorton & White)