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"Agricultural legislation” is an umbrella term that covers a broad range of topics, including food, veterinary matters, plant protection, seeds, forestry, fisheries, water, and land. Agricultural legislation also intersects with other discrete subject areas, including environment, health, and trade. Because of these interconnections the borderlines – where agriculture begins and these related topics end – are debatable. How different countries view agriculture varies significantly. In the developed world, agriculture is mostly a commercial enterprise, and “agricultural law” is considered largely to apply to the business of agriculture, including agricultural finance, supply chains, marketing, insurance (crop, drought, pest), real estate, intellectual property, biotechnology, engineering, and hydrology. The last few decades have seen an intellectual shift within the academic community, away from a focus on “agriculture as a business” toward agriculture as the engine that produces food for humanity. Under this conception, agriculture is important because it produces the food that we eat; agricultural laws are therefore understood to cover all aspects of the production and distribution of food, including the regulatory functions of local, subnational, and national governments. Because agricultural law and legislation cover so many distinct subject areas, this article provides a conceptual framework to organize this rich and complex subject.

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The Loophole