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What is an agistment agreement?
An agistment agreement is a contract for one party (the agistor) to assume responsibility for the maintenance and welfare of another party's livestock in return for payment.
Agistment can cover a wide range of situations from simple arrangements such as grazing and basic shelter to full offerings of services including breeding and nutrition. Agistment can be a useful management strategy during a dry season as it offers the benefits of:
- avoiding the need to sell livestock
- avoiding the need for supplementary feeding
- maintaining a breeding nucleus (especially if the animals are mixed with those of another client)
- providing better feed for livestock
- spelling pastures, allowing them time to respond after the dry season or heatwaves
Agistment can also be beneficial for a livestock owner if they do not have sufficient land of their own for a rapidly growing herd or flock, or if the agistment property has higher quality grasslands or other more favourable features.
Agistment may be arranged by a brief discussion. However, verbal agistment agreements rarely plan for problems such as veterinary care or disease, non-payment by owners, or the need to relocate animals in emergency. Nor is there any record of what was agreed if there is a dispute. If a dispute does arise, the terms of a verbal agreement can be hard to prove.
The Department of Primary Industries recommends using a written agistment agreement such as this one. Using one makes sure that both owners and landholders are aware of their rights and obligations from the start, and a thorough agreement can reduce the likelihood of problems later on.
The law in this agistment contract
This contract uses common law. It follows the guidelines set out by NSW Department of Primary Industries.
When to use this agistment agreement
Use this agistor contract where the owner is paying the agistor per head of animal for grazing and other services.
It is suitable for professional agistors to use as a client contract, either for short term arrangements or longer term contracts,
It has been drawn for cattle, but could be easily amended for sheep and other livestock. Note that we have a horse agistment agreement as well.
The owner of the animals remains responsible for transporting or moving the livestock to and from the agistment property and retains ownership of the animals except under certain circumstances (such as non payment of fees).
Agreement features and contents
- Description of the livestock
- Fees: including failure to pay and interest
- Owner warranties
- Veterinary call out
- Right of lien
- Obligation of the agistor
- Other miscellaneous paragraphs to protect your interests
Some additional options to be selected or deleted may be useful.