Agribusiness plays a vital role at every stage of the food chain. From farm to fork, agribusiness companies focus on specific functions such as import/export, trading and distribution, marketing and retailing and even waste management or vertically integrate from research and development to production and processing. Sidley’s global agribusiness team works across the supply chain in a wide variety of industry sectors, including seed genomics , crop nutrition and protection, organics, water and irrigation, bio-fuel production and distribution, precision agriculture, information technology, aquaculture, vertical and urban farming, processing and distribution, supply and storage, retailing and marketing, equipment manufacturing, and finance, investment and lending. The team’s recent work includes representing:
- Monsanto Company in its publicly announced strategic BioAg Alliance with Novozymes to discover, develop and sell sustainable microbial solutions to improve and protect crop yields for global broad-acre crops, fruits and vegetables.
- NexSteppe, Inc. in its collaboration with DuPont to develop advanced sorghum feedstocks for biofuels, biopower and bio-based products.
- Corn Products International, Inc. in its $4.8 billion merger with Bunge Limited (since terminated) and its $1.3 billion acquisition of National Starch.
- Monsanto Company in its announced alliance with BASF Plant Sciences LLC, a subsidiary of BASF AG, to develop improved yield and environmentally tolerant traits for corn, soybean, cotton and canola.
- A fund manager in the formation of a $300+ million agribusiness fund to invest in real assets and agribusinesses in Central and South America and in with several portfolio company acquisitions from 2005-2010.
- A Fortune 50 company in a product-labeling recall that stemmed from the sourcing of raw materials used by a third-party ingredients supplier.
Our lawyers assist clients with the formation of funds to invest at different stages of the agribusiness supply chain. This experience encompasses vertically integrated farmland funds, commodities trading funds, private equity funds focused on production and operations, and emerging company agri-tech funds. Sidley also provides strategic advice to large and mid-sized agribusiness companies and associations seeking opportunities in the global marketplace through cross-border technology acquisitions and partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures. We work with emerging companies and entrepreneurs to develop technologies for improved agricultural productivity, increased distribution efficiencies, reduced costs and environmental sustainability. In addition, we work with all our company clients on technology and IP transactions and intellectual property matters, including plant patents, global regulatory issues and phytosanitary requirements, environmental matters, and immigration compliance and investigatory matters.
Drawing on the knowledge of lawyers who have direct experience running agribusinesses, hold scientific and technical degrees, and have worked in senior policy, regulatory, legislative and executive government offices, Sidley’s agribusiness team understands the many unique facets of the agribusiness industry and its challenges. Our team includes a former acting general counsel of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; a former acting chief counsel of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA); a former high-level regulator at the FDA who played a key role in drafting and negotiating the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011; a former special assistant to the FDA chief counsel; a former federal prosecutor who was in charge of FDA’s special prosecution task force; a former general counsel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and a former member of the European Commission’s Legal Service with responsibility for review of all food- and drug-related proposals.
Understanding our clients’ needs from this multi-faceted perspective enables Sidley to provide effective advice on the wide range of legal matters affecting the dynamic agribusiness industry.