Legal Advice for Agricultural Businesses in Yorkshire

Agricultural businesses in Yorkshire have used Wilkin Chapman for generations (stock image)

A customer from the ash industry was interested in negotiating a supply contract. After discussions with them about the context of the agreement and their activities, it became clear that they needed to diversify their activities. The agricultural sector was a sector that they knew little about, but thought that there might be opportunities and possible uses for the ash in the fertilizer industry. We introduced them to an AD unit operator who had excess digestate. From there, the client understood the difficulties of applying the digestate to the land, the odor issues and what the farmers actually wanted. This developed into the process of detoxifying the ash for use as fertilizer and it extended to various other projects, such as the pelleting of chicken manure and other ash-based products. In regular meetings where the client asked for help on strategy and specific legal aspects, we worked with them to develop their products, protect them, choose the right investors, form the right structures and commercially exploit the products.

A food processing company with a large number of employees asked how to lay off some employees. What the client really wanted was to reduce labor costs. There are many ways to do this other than compulsory dismissal, which can be a long and costly process. We worked with the client to reduce labor costs, not through layoffs, but by understanding the client’s business and their needs. We used this knowledge to reduce the number of employees who were not necessary for the future of this company and who had been in the company for a short time. This saved them money immediately and improved the sustainability and profitability of the business.

Alistair Latham – From contracts to closures, from salary costs to planning… knowing who and what to ask is key

An agricultural business had a structure that had grown in complexity over the years. There was an agricultural partnership, a limited liability company, land held in your own name, agricultural tenancy, secured loan from the bank, pension trusts. Some family members wanted to continue in the business, others did not. The business owner didn’t know what to do and was getting very stressed about the situation. What he knew was that it couldn’t go on like this. This affected both the business and the personal life of the owner. We worked with the owner to understand the business, the true position of ownership, the rights of different entities and helped him define the purpose of where he wanted to be. Over time, the structure has been modified and the needs of the owner’s family taken care of. The result, a more efficient and clear structure. A business more suited to everyone’s future and an owner who has rediscovered a taste for business and his family life.

An overseas company asked us to write terms and conditions that would work in the UK, but based on their existing terms and conditions. We have spent our time understanding their products and their business. They wanted to enter the UK agricultural market with a revolutionary high-tech product. It involved hardware, software, animal rights and a host of other issues. Terms and conditions were part of the question, but what they really needed was someone who understood the UK market, their product and had the skills to promote and source it in the UK. Various solutions have been considered such as direct supply to the customer from abroad, agents and distributors. In the end, we helped them set up an English company which now employs several people in the UK to promote and supply their products. This model was copied and adopted in several other European countries. Their business got better and better. Something that the simple fact of providing general conditions of sale would not have been enough.

At Wilkin Chapman, we do more than answer your questions, we take the time to understand you and your business, and help you ask and answer the right questions to achieve your goals and have a more sustainable and profitable business for the future. If you need help asking the right question in your farming business, please contact us. We are here to work with you.


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