On July 5, CCGA hosted lawyers from D'Arcy & Deacon LLP, a Winnipeg-based law firm, for a practical session on grain contracts. The session's purpose was to connect farmers with lawyers and to provide an opportunity to ask questions and hear advice on managing grain contracts, especially since last year's drought-related contract shortfalls and defaults and significant uncertainty facing the 2022 crop.
Here are three key takeaways from the session:
Read and understand your entire contract – including the terms and conditions.
The terms and conditions governing the contract are found in the fine print. The terms contain important details for fulfilling the contract, including delivery requirements, quality, contract defaults, liquidated damages and more.
Make sure you have the whole contract.
Contracts may come in two parts, which can cause some confusion. Some companies provide the terms and conditions in advance and apply them to contracts executed during the crop year. Ensure you have the entire contract.
Put it in writing.
If an issue should arise, ensure you have clear, written communication in your records (in other words, a paper trail). Verbal agreements are legally binding but difficult to prove after the fact. Any changes to your contract terms or discussions related to an active contract should be in writing.
Watch the session recording above for more information about grain contracts and hear lawyers from D'Arcy & Deacon LLP discuss contract defaults, liquidated damages, Acts of God, and verbal agreements.