Arnstein & Lehr is expanding its services in Florida with the creation of the Agriculture Practice Group chaired by Attorney Katie Edwards. The agriculture team represents farmers, ranchers and nursery growers on issues that impact the everyday operations of agribusiness, including estate planning, complex real estate transactions, land use, eminent domain, water, environmental regulations, debt collection and food safety and labor.
"Our team of attorneys brings an unparalleled approach to agriculture by serving our rural clients with the caliber and sophistication of traditional big city firms while maintaining our down-to-earth, collaborative approach to dispute resolution and complex transactions," said Jeffrey Shapiro, Arnstein & Lehr's Chairman and Managing Partner of the Miami office. "Clients receive personalized service from our principal Florida offices in West Palm Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and a satellite office in Okeechobee."
The Agriculture practice group consists of seasoned professionals with experience representing landowners in many areas of law that concern their land and their operations including land use, governmental relations, debt collection, environmental permitting, eminent domain, labor, real estate, estate planning and tax matters. Members of the practice group frequently handle matters for agribusinesses before South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Army Corps of Engineers.
"The depth of our team will provide solutions to the different challenges that growers and ranchers often face not only in the courtroom but also before government agencies," Ms. Edwards said. "If a matter concerns the land, it concerns us. If a problem threatens your livelihood, we treat the problem as if it were our own. Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of our economy, and we consider it both a privilege and a duty to represent this important segment of our society."
Before joining Arnstein & Lehr LLP, Ms. Edwards was Executive Director of the Dade County Farm Bureau in Homestead. Elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2012, she is keenly aware of the obstacles and challenges agriculture faces. In 2015, she passed legislation to strengthen Florida's Bert J. Harris Private Property Rights Act, working to reign in local governments from seeking unconstitutional governmental exactions from private property owners. She also led efforts in 2014 and 2016 to create a statutory framework for allowing patients to access medical marijuana, known as the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 and the expansion of Florida's Right to Try Act.
Members of Arnstein & Lehr's Agriculture practice frequently handle real estate, procurement, permitting and regulatory matters before water management districts and various cities and counties across the state of Florida. The team also represents agricultural landowners before county property appraisers and Value Adjustment Boards in agricultural property classification and taxation matters. The practice group has vast experience representing clients before the US Department of Agriculture, Florida Department of Agriculture, and Consumer Services in quasi-judicial, administrative and regulatory matters, among other agencies.