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I run a small retail horse hay and wheat straw business in

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I run a small retail horse hay and wheat straw business in VA. In 2008 I ventured into the wheat straw business based on current construction growth and need for wheat straw as mulch in the area. I had an oral (verbal) agreement with a local farmer to bale the straw left over after he picked his wheat. We verbally agreed that I would pay him a fee $.75 per bale for all the bales that I made. (I would be responsible for baling the straw and removing it from the field but stacking on his property). Half way through the baling operation, another farmer approached me and asked me to bale his straw which was of higher quality, for only $.50 a bale and his fields were closer to a large building that I could rent and store the straw out of the weather. When I approached the first farmer he stated that I would have to finish baling his straw and that we had an agreement. Much to my displeasure I continued baling his straw to the total of 18500 bales.
Unfortunately the straw market plummeted with the recession and I was only able to sell 7800 bales of this straw. The farmer was paid $.75 for each bale sold. Mean while the unprotected straw want bad resulting in over 10000 bales of wet unusable straw. I removed 7500 bales of this straw which cost me a considerable amount of money almost $.75 per bale. I also paid him an additional $3,000 from proceeds of 7800 bales sold to go toward the unsold straw. Most of this straw was removed at the farmers request because it was stored on his property. There is now 2500 bales left in a far corned of a field and after 2 years of decay, there is hardly and material left, it could easily be left to decompose or be pushed into the woods. I have no where to put this straw nor are there any funds left to pay the farmer for the $.75 per bale for the 11,700 unsold bales of straw. (minus the $3,000 already paid)
I tried in vain to advertise this straw but was unable to find buyers. I then began giving it away which meant people would come and load the straw as compost and carry it away them selves. The farm made me stop this because he didn’t want people on his property, (My business has full liability insurance and that was explained to the farmer). BotXXXXX XXXXXne, there is pile of composted straw and a matter $5,025 owed for straw that was unsold due to a depressed marked and rot. My question is this, there is nothing in writing between us! There are no funds left to pay the farmer and I have no means to remove this composted straw. Since we do not have a written contract, am I liable for the money owed and the removal of the rest of the straw?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Roger replied 4 years ago.

An oral contract is enforceable ONLY if it can be completed within 12 months. If the process has taken or will take longer than 12 months, the oral agreement/contract is void and unenforceable.

Roger, Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by West
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