Crop failure: "hey! I need my hay (and my wine)!"

Hello! After a summer hiatus to study for the bar, I'm finally able to return to blogging.  I hope you all have had a happy and safe summer of riding, and I am looking forward to catching up on some of my favorite equine blogs!

I am fortunate to live in an area where many of our trailrides take us through vineyards, which prompted me to consider the intersection of agriculture endeavors and the horseowner. 

Do your horses eat hay?  If so, this problem applies to you!

While the following example is based on WINE, I thought it appropriate for Horse Owners if you've ever questioned:

1. What do you do if the amount of hay you ordered is only partially delivered?
2. What do you do if you GROW hay for personal use, and also sell a little on the side, but you are unable to deliver the full amount to your buyer?

Consider this problem...

In July of last summer a grape grower contracted with a winery to deliver "500 tons of premium quality pinot chardonnay grapes grown on my ranch."  The price was to be $1,000 per ton and delivery was to be on or before September 15.  In August of the same year, the grape grower entered into an identical contract with a vineyard to sell 300 tons of premium quality pinot chardonnay grapes."

The grape grower completed his harvest by September 10 and had 800 tons of premium quality grapes.  On September 11, an unexpected rain ruined 400 tons, and the grape grower notified the winery and the vineyard on that day that he would only be able to deliver 250 tons to the winery and 150 tons to the vineyard.  On September 14, the vineyard purchased an additional 150 tons of premium quality pinot chardonnay grapes from a different grape farmer, one of several other available sources for premium quality pinot chardonnay grapes.  These grapes, along with the 150 tons from the grap grower, gave the vineyard the 300 tons that it needed.

On September 15, what is the winery's legal position with regard to the grape grower's failure to deliver the 500 tons of grapes required by his contract?


If the winery has given the grape grower a written notice of termination, the winery will have the right to refuse to accept the 250 tons of grapes but will have no cause of actions for damages (i.e., MONEY) against the grape grower.

A crop failure resulting from an unexpected cause excuses a farmer's obligation to deliver the full amount as long as he makes a fair and reasonable allocation (pro rata) among his buyers.   The buyer has a choice, he may 1) accept the proposed modification of the amount of the goods or 2) terminate the contract.

In this problem the grapes were tied to a particular property ("my ranch"), but if the grapes were not particular to this ranch then the grape grower may have to use alternative sources to meet the demands of his buyers.

Ok! Who now is in the mood for a crisp glass of wine!?  
But remember: wait until after ALL your riding and barn chores are over: never drink and ride, not only is it unsafe, but in some states, it's against the law!

(I would love to find some great new equine blogs to read, please recommend any you think might be interesting to me, or some of your favorites!)