Agistment originally referred specifically to the proceeds of pasturage in the king's forests. To agist is, in English law, to take cattle to graze, in exchange for payment (derived from the Old English giste, gite, a "lying place").
- the contract for taking in and feeding horses or cattle on pasture land, for the consideration of a periodic payment of money;
- the profit derived from such pasturing.
Agistment involves a contract of bailment, and the bailee must take reasonable care of the animals entrusted to him; he is responsible for damages and injury which result from ordinary casualties, if it be proved that such might have been prevented by the exercise of great care. There is no lien on the cattle for the price of the agistment unless by express agreement. Under the Agricultural Holdings Act of 1883, agisted cattle cannot be distrained on for rent if there be other sufficient distress to be found, and if such other distress be not found, and the cattle be distrained, the owner may redeem them on paying the price of their agistment. The tithe of agistment or "tithe of cattle and other produce of grass lands" was formally abolished by the Act of Union in 1707, on a motion submitted with a view to defeat that measure.
England (New Forest)
In England, agisters were formerly the officers of the forest empowered to collect the agistment. They have been re-established in the New Forest to carry out the daily duties of administering the forest.
In Australia, agistment is commonly used in drought, where livestock on a drought-affected property are agisted to a drought-free property elsewhere in the country. The livestock may travel to the alternate pasture by truck, or by travelling stock route. In New Zealand, many farms and studs offer Horse 'full agistment' where one can have their horse graze and be cared for, or part agistment where grazing only is offered.
United States and Canada
In the United States and Canada, the term agister is used in raw milk herdshare agreements to refer to the person hired to provide agistment services for owners of the herd animals. In the Western United States, agisters are landholders who offer pasturage services, or who seek to enforce agistment lien commitments.[a]
- For example, in the State of Washington, agister is defined as "a farmer, ranchman, herder of cattle, livery and boarding stable keeper, veterinarian, or other person, to whom horses, mules, cattle, or sheep are entrusted for the purpose of feeding, herding, pasturing, training, caring for, or ranching" (Washington State Legislator 2016); as it is in Colorado (Colorado General Assembly 2005).
- "Agister - MediaWiki". Welcome to EcoReality!. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
- "Bovine Agistment Agreement" (PDF). Day Spring Farm. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
- "Common Terms Explained". BC Herdshare Association. 30 January 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
- "Session Laws of Colorado 2005 First Regular Session, 65th General Assembly: House Bill 05-1345". Colorado General Assembly. 27 May 2005. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- "The New Forest Agisters". For registered New Forest Ponies. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
- "RCW 60.56.005: Definition of "agister."". Washington State Legislator. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2016.