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Wyo Ag Risk - Human Resource and Legal Risk


Human resources are both a source of risk and an important part of the strategy for dealing with risk. At the core of dealing with that risk, and that potential, is the ability to manage people. Human resource calamities can hamper even the most carefully made and appropriate risk management decisions. Those calamities include divorce, chronic illness, and accidental death.

Many of the day-to-day activities of farmers and ranchers involve commitments that have legal implications. Understanding these issues can lead to better risk management decisions. Legal issues cut across other risk areas. For example, acquiring an operating loan has legal implications if not repaid in the specified manner. Production activities involving the use of pesticides have legal implications if appropriate safety precautions are not taken. Marketing of agricultural products involves contract law. Human resource issues associated with agriculture also have legal implications, ranging from employer/employee rules and regulations, to inheritance laws. The legal issues most commonly associated with agriculture fall into four broad categories: 1) appropriate legal business structure, and tax and estate planning; 2) contractual arrangements; 3) tort liability, and, 4) statutory compliance, including environmental issues. (After National Crop Insurance Services’ Crop Insurance and Risk Management Primer, Risk Overview, page 35.)

A dynamic management approach is useful for effectively and efficiently managing the complex and changing nature of human resource and legal risks in agriculture. A strong understanding of these risks can prove valuable not only for avoiding risks, but also for reducing the negative implications of realized human resource and legal uncertainties.

Three articles are presented on the topic of Livestock Human Resource and Legal Risk:

  1. From the National Crop Insurance Services’ Crop Insurance and Risk Management Primer, we provide an article by Dr. Laurence M. Crane entitled Human Resource and Legal Risk.
  2. From the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, we provide "Farm and Ranch Personnel Management."
  3. From the Risk Management Agency website, we provide "Legal Framework for Risk Management."

These articles were selected for their relevance, ease of understanding, and completeness; however, they do not provide an exhaustive discussion of livestock human resource and legal risk.  Readers desiring additional information about livestock human resource and legal risk are encouraged to explore the reference links provided below.


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Additional References


Library Sources


Western Risk Management Library:


National Ag Risk Education Library:


Risk & Resilience in Agriculture:


Recognizing Risks:



Occupational Safety: Health.pdf


The Role of Human Resource Management in Risk Management: Challenges.pdf


Human Resource Management: Employee Attraction and Selection Guide: Guide/cg/overheads/rm8-3.0.pdf


The Human Side of Human Resource Management in Ranch Operations:


Wrestling with Federal Environmental Laws Affecting Western Agriculture: A Selected Overview : Section 5/Wrestling with Federal Environmental Laws Affecting Western Agriculture.pdf 


Livestock Laws:

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