Production Contracts


Agricultural production contracts are agreements between producers and contractors, typically agricultural commodity processors, that detail an arrangement for raising agricultural commodities. These contracts usually identify the production practices to be used, identify the party responsible for supplying the required resources, and specify the quantity, quality, and method of payment for the product. Farmers and ranchers utilize production contracts as a tool to manage the risks inherent in agricultural production, and agribusinesses employ production contracts to manage risk and to control expenditures. The legal implications of production contracts are unique to each jurisdiction because the law of each state governs their interpretation. In addition, variations in terms and language contained in individual production contracts make each one distinct. Read the full overview

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

Major Statutes

Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107-171 § 10503, 116 Stat. 134, 510
(codified at 7 U.S.C. § 229b)
Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 499a-499t
Packers and Stockyards Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 181-231
Agricultural Fair Practices Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 2301-2306
Producer Protection Act (state legislation model)


Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Regulations, 7 C.F.R. §§ 46.1-46.49
Rules of Practice for Reparation Proceedings, 7 C.F.R. §§ 47.1-47.49
Rules of Practice Governing Formal Adjudicatory Proceedings, 7 C.F.R. §§ 1.130-1.151
Packers and Stockyards Act Regulations, 9 C.F.R. Parts 200-206
Federal Register Rules Open for Comment

Case Law

Case Law Index for Production Contracts

Administrative Law Decisions

USDA Office of the Administrative Law Judges
USDA National Appeals Division
Center published USDA Judicial Officer’s Decisions

Agricultural Law Bibliography

Introduction   |   Keyword Search   |   Browse Categories

Legal publications on Production Contracts:

Animals – Animal Rights
Corporate Farming (Restrictions on Corporate Farming/Family Farm Preservation)
Farmer-Processor Bargaining – Production Contracts
Land Use Regulation
Livestock and Packers & Stockyards

Center Research Publications

Industrial Hemp Production Contracts: Managing Expectations and Mitigating Loss (Snowden, Rumley; 2020)
Force Majeure and Other Contractual Defenses during the COVID-19
Pandemic (Snowden et all; 2020)
U.C.C. Forms and Filing Information (NALC Staff; 2020)
Issue Brief: Organization for Competitive Markets Seeks Judicial Review of USDA’s GIPSA Rule Withdrawal (Lizano, E. Rumley; 2018)
Farmer’s Legal Guide to Production Contracts (Hamilton; 1995)
Regulation of Production Contracts (Peck; 2006)
The Farmer’s Legal Guide to Producer Marketing Associations (O’Brien, Hamilton & Luedeman; 2006)

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:

Animal Agriculture

Reference Resources

Economic Research Service (ERS)

Glossary of Agriculture Policy Terms
Agricultural Contracting Update: Contracts in 2008 (MacDonald and Korb, 2011)
Agricultural Contracting Update: Contracts in 2005 (MacDonald and Korb, 2008)
Agricultural Contracting Update: Contracts in 2003 (MacDonald and Korb, 2006)
Did the Mandatory Requirement Aid the Market? Impact of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act (Perry et al., 2005)
Contracts, Markets, and Prices: Organizing the Production and Use of Agricultural Commodities (MacDonald et al., 2004)
Contracting in Tobacco? Contracts Revisited (Dimitri, 2003)
Broiler Farms’ Organization, Management, and Performance (Perry et al., 1999)
Farm Use of Futures, Options, and Marketing Contracts (MacDonald et al., 2020)
Farmers’ Use of Marketing and Production Contracts (1997)
Swine Contract Library
Farm Structure and Contracting
Livestock and Poultry Growing Contracts
Swine Contract Provisions of the 2002 Farm Bill
Livestock Sellers’ Rights under the P&S Act
Live Poultry Growers’ and Sellers’ Rights

Other Federal Resources

Contracting in Agriculture: Making the Right Decision (Agricultural Marketing Service, AMS) (2016)
USDA Disaster Assistance Programs


Farmers’ Guide to Disaster Assistance, “Volume 3: Livestock Indemnity Program” (FLAG, 2019)
Agricultural Production Contracts (Kunkel, Peterson, Mooty, 2015)
Current Issues in Agricultural Contracts
Poultry Extension Publications and Factsheets (NC St. U.)
Hushed Up: Confidentiality Clauses in Organic Milk Contracts (FLAG, 2008)
The Dilemma of Contracting: Risk Management or Risky Business? (FLAG CLE seminar, 2006)
An Introduction to Agricultural Production and Marketing Contracts (Holman et al., U. NE-Lincoln, 2006)
Issues To Consider Related to Tobacco Contracts (RAFI-USA, 2006)
Agricultural Production Contract Code (IL General Assembly)
Cooperatives and Contracting in Agriculture: The Case of West Liberty Foods (Ginder et al., IA State U., 2005)
Questions to Ask Before Signing a Poultry Contract (RAFI-USA, 2005)
Issue Report: Production Contracts  (Farm Foundation, 2004)
Contract Poultry Growers Have Rights under Federal Law (FLAG, 2004)
Livestock Production Contracts: Risks for Family Farmers (Moeller, FLAG, 2004)
Your Poultry Contract is Cut Off Due To Plant Closing: What Should You Do? (FLAG/RAFI, 2003)
Assessing the Impact of Integrator Practices on Contract Poultry Growers (FLAG, 2001)
Contracts and Agreements for Custom Dairy Heifer Growing (Karszes and Cady, 2000)
Twelve Basic Rules of Contracting (Harl, 1995)
A Farmer’s Guide to Production Contracts in Saskatchewan (Zawada)
FLAG Publications on Contract Farming

Additional Resources

Model Producer Protection Act (IA Attorney General)
Livestock Production Contract Checklist (IA Attorney General)
Grain Production Contract Checklist (IA Attorney General)
Understanding Contract Agriculture (RAFI-USA)
Contract Farming Resource Center (FAO)
Contracts, Markets, and Prices: Organizing the Production and Use of Agricultural Commodities (MacDonald et al. 2004)*
Contracts in Agriculture (Massey, University of Missouri Extension 2009)
Agricultural Contracts and Risk Management (Goodhue, Simon, University of California, Berkley)*
Contract Farming: Partnerships for Growth (FOA Agricultural Services Bulletin 145, 2001)*
An Analytical Toolkit for Support to Contract Farming (Agriculture and Environmental Services, World Bank Group, 2014)*