A farmer’s guide for calculating plant loss, part 1

Our office represents farmers as the plaintiff’s lawyer, and often our claims are against large companies, like chemical companies. When our office is contacted by a client, there are specific steps we take to ensure we gather as much information and evidence as possible, and as quickly as possible. To help us calculate the loss, we created a guide for farmers to use. Providing as much detail as possible in a case is essential for success. The Guide below outlines the steps to take when calculating plant loss. Growers should keep this readily available as part of their farm management tools.

STEP 1: Inspect all plants you believe were injured by whatever cause.
STEP 2: Videotape or photograph all of the injured plants by walking their perimeter so that
the magnitude of your injury can be ascertained. (Photographing a small space won’t
work; you have to document the entire area.)
STEP 3: If different varieties have been affected, check to see if there is any difference in
plant injury based upon varietal variance.
STEP 4: Regardless of the cause you suspect as being the culprit of plant injury, have plant
samples taken immediately and have a certified laboratory check for evidence of
the type of event you believe caused the harm.
STEP 5: Have your plants checked for evidence of other causes, such as insects or disease.
Check immediately with neighboring growers or, if not comfortable discussing injury to your plants, drive by neighboring growers and try to ascertain if others have similar injuries. (Weather events nor contaminated products isolate upon a particular grower. If you have a problem, somebody else may too.)

In next month’s column, I’ll review the next six essential steps.



BIO: Michael Martin of Martin Law Office in Lakeland specializes in agriculture and environmental legal representation. A native of Polk County, Mike attended college at Sewanee in Tennessee, before obtaining a doctorate in law from the University of Florida and has tried numerous cases nationwide since that time. Mike also serves as the director of the FFA Foundation and is the author of the novel, The Crestfallen Rose.

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