Husch Blackwell LLP

Grow Your Business

Food and agribusiness is a multibillion-dollar industry and more – it’s a sustaining force, here and abroad, attracting the highest levels of commercial, financial and regulatory interest. The issues and challenges confronting businesses in this industry are numerous, as are the opportunities to grow and thrive.

Husch Blackwell’s Food & Agribusiness team has the expertise to help your business succeed. Our team of more than 50 attorneys is fully committed to serving the legal needs of the food and agribusiness industry. We understand that clients don’t have legal problems; they have business problems that are subject to legal implications or constraints. Because we are immersed in your industry, we understand your business. You can rely on us to stay on top of today’s trends, help you tackle day-to-day challenges, guide you through the regulatory environment, and help you achieve your objectives.

Our cross-discipline, collaborative approach allows us to scale up or scale down to provide you with the right resources and expertise to meet your needs regardless of the size or scope of your matter.

Mr. Ash leads Husch Blackwell’s Food & Agribusiness industry team. His legal knowledge has guided some of the world’s most visible food and agriculture companies, along with their investors and financers. Jim’s first exposure to agribusiness came during his formative years growing up in a California farming community. He also worked as a plant manager for the citrus cooperative Sunkist, where he accumulated additional perspective on the food industry.

Jim’s engagements in the agribusiness industry cover a range of issues, including mergers, international expansion, governance, securities and various general corporate matters. He twice was asked to serve as interim general counsel to a Fortune 1000 company and understands his clients’ operations with an insider’s perspective.


  • Agriculture commodity product associations
  • Buying groups and cooperatives
  • Livestock, breed and cattle associations
  • Producer and wholesaler cooperatives

Benefits and compensation

  • Employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) for industry manufacturers, retailers, restaurants and lenders
  • Incentive compensation plans for industry manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, lenders and agricultural commodity companies
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Labor (DOL) and benefit plan regulation and compliance
  • Plan document and compliance services for health and welfare plans, including Affordable Care Act compliance
  • Plan participant and plan fiduciary litigation
  • Qualified retirement plans and compliance correction

Business legal services

  • Bankruptcy and insolvency
  • Bond financing
  • Commercial contracting
  • Compliance with state corporate farming laws
  • Cooperative formation, tax and patronage structures
  • Debt restructuring
  • Debtor/creditor actions
  • Franchisee/franchisor
  • Local, state and federal regulatory and legislative representation
  • Mergers, acquisitions and divestitures
  • Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) and Packers and Stockyards Act (PASA) enforcement
  • Private equity financing and investment
  • Public and private commercial debt
  • Tax planning and efficiency strategies

Environmental, safety and health

  • Environmental compliance, enforcement actions, citizen lawsuits and nuisance litigation
  • Facility permitting for agricultural chemical manufacturing, equipment manufacturing, animal production, food and meat processing, food packaging and food distribution
  • Pesticide regulation and registration
  • Water rights acquisition, transfer and leasing
  • Wetlands issues, including U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulation and compliance, creation of mitigation banks and in-lie programs

Family wealth planning

  • Estate and probate tax planning
  • Family office
  • Generational asset transfers

Intellectual property

  • Agriculture technology
  • Animal pharmaceuticals
  • Licensing and associated litigation (domestic and international)
  • Plant and animal genetics
  • Product branding
  • Right to use assistance and opinions
  • Securing grants for biotechnology and homeland security research
  • Trademark and patent protection, including infringement litigation (domestic and international)

Labor and employment

  • Breach of contract/noncompetition agreement litigation
  • Compliance with nonimmigrant foreign worker programs
  • Discrimination, harassment and retaliation
  • Executive and employee training and educational seminars
  • Federal and state employment and labor law compliance
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Preparing for and responding to Department of Labor (DOL) audits
  • Traditional labor and union prevention training
  • Wage and hour and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Product compliance and regulatory matters

  • Consumer health and safety
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulation and compliance
  • Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulation and compliance
  • Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) regulation and compliance
  • Product labeling
  • Product recalls
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) regulation and compliance

Real estate

  • Construction of improvements, including offices, warehouses and roads
  • Farm and ranch real estate transactions
  • Levee district formation and operation
  • Oil and gas lease, exploration, production and pipeline transactions
  • Solar and wind energy lease, production and transmission transactions

Contact Husch Blackwell LLP

James M. Ash
4801 Main Street
Suite 1000
Kansas City, Missouri  64112
Phone: (816) 983-8137
Fax: (816) 983-8080


Service Area

National service provider

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