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

The Farm Credit Act
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

Blockchain and Bitcoin Basics: Applicability to Agriculture (Goforth, 2021)
Creating and Using Cryptoassets: Regulatory Implications (Goforth, 2021)
Blockchain Initiatives and Operations Focusing on Agriculture (Goforth, 2021)
Updated Statutory Agricultural Lien Charts (Brown, 2020)
Financing the Farm: A Law Bulletin Series on Legal Arrangements for Farm Financing (Hall & Bachelor, 2019)
State Grain Grading Laws and Regulations (DiGiulio, R. Rumley & E. Rumley, 2019)
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)
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

Reports– published and made available by CRS beginning in 2017
Subjects- published by CRS and made available by NALC until 2018:


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

Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA)

Requirements Under the PACA
Commodities Covered Under the PACA
PACA Brochures
Recent PACA Press Releases
Commodity Procurement
PACA Licensing

Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Industry Oversight
Law and Regulation
Market Data and Analysis
Forms and Submissions

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.)
Center for Profitable Agriculture Resources (UT Agricultural Extension Service)
Selling Food to USDA (Agricultural Marketing Service)
Agricultural Prices (Focus Economics)
National Farmers Market Directory (Agricultural Marketing Service)
Farmers Market Rules and Procedures and Operating Guidelines


Agribusiness Explained: What It Is, Challenges, and Examples (Chen, 2023)
Profitable Cash Crops and Farm Loan Programs to Support Your Transition (AgAmerica, 2022)
Contracts in Agriculture (University of Missouri Extension, Massey)
Agricultural Credit: Definition and Types of Credit Vehicles (Chen, 2021)
Improving Your Farm Lease Contract (Leibold, 2021)
Farmers Market Regulation and You (Allen, 2021)
Introduction to Grain Marketing (MSU Extension, 2021)
Farm Use of Futures, Options, and Marketing Contracts (USDA, 2020)
Emerging Opportunities for the Application of Blockchain in the Agri-Food Industry (FAO, 2020)
Understanding Risk in Hedge-to-Arrive Contracts (Iowa State Univ. Ext. and Outreach, 2020)
How Do You Perfect a Security Interest in Agriculture? (Howard, 2020)
The Non-Price Risk of Credit Sale Contracts: Know Your Grain Buyer (ISU Extension & Outreach, 2019)
Section 1631 and the Farm Products Exception to the UCC Exception – Fertile Traps for the Unwary (Schumm, 2019)
What is an Agricultural Lien under the UCC? (Collateral Base)
Common Agricultural Lease Payment Structures (Texas A&M Extension, 2019)
Buying the Farm: A Due Diligence Primer When Buying or Selling Farming Operations and other Agribusinesses (Bocci, 2019)
E-Agriculture in Action: Blockchain for Agriculture – Opportunities and Challenges (FAO, 2019)
Selling Food at Farmers Markets (Kansas State University Ext. Service, 2018)
Contracting in Agriculture: Making the Right Decision (FSA, Drake University, 2017)
Blockchain for Agriculture and Food (Ge, Brewster, Spek, Smeenk, Top, 2017)
Protecting Farmers in Emerging Markets with Blockchain (Haveson, Lau, Wong, 2017)
Introduction to Hedging Agricultural Commodities with Futures (Parcell, Pierce)
Update on the Use of Sec. 1031 and Sec. 1033 Like Kind Exchanges in Agriculture (Rattikin, 2017)
UCC and Agricultural Liens (Holbrook, Chrisp 2016)
Are Food Brokers Right for You? (Brooks, Oklahoma State University Ext. Services, 2016)
CFPB Overview – What Every Attorney Needs to Know (Beeville, 2016)
Contracting in Agriculture: Making the Right Decision (Drake University, 2016)
Risk Management for Ag Producers (Skaggs, 2016)
Ensuring Compliance in Commercial and Agricultural Lending (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, 2016)
Commodity Futures Contracts for Ag Lawyers (Bolotin, 2016)
Update on the Use of Sec. 1031 and Sec. 1033 Like Kind Exchanges in Agriculture (Rattikin, 2017)
A Quick Guide to Understanding “Farm Filings (FAO)
A Garden Variety of UCC Issues Dealing with Agriculture (Meyer, 2010)
The UCC and Food (Weise, Business Law Today, 2009)
Commercializing Small Farms: Reducing Transaction Costs (Pingali, 2005)
A Selected Review of Agricultural Commodity Futures and Options Markets (Garcia and Leuthold, 2004)
Legal Issues Involving Cash Forward Grain Contracts (McEowen, Texas Agricultural Ext. Service, 1999)
Personal Liability for Corporate Debts: The Reach of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Continues to Expand (Botta, 1997)
The Anatomy of Agricultural Product Markets (Thorbecke, 1992)
Options Trading in Agricultural Commodities (Erickson & Hurt, IN Ext., 1985)

Recommended Readings and Publications (not freely available electronically):

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