Trent C. Hilding
Of Counsel



Mr. Hilding’s practice focuses on representation of farmers, landowners, and agribusiness clients. Mr. Hilding assists clients with business planning, estate planning, succession planning, real estate transfers/leases, contracts, tax planning and a host of other transactional services to help farmers and agribusiness owners transfer their operations and protect and preserve their legacy. Mr. Hilding speaks and writes on farm transfer, succession planning, business, and estate planning issues for Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan State University Extension, and the National Farm Transition Network.

His work experience includes owning and operating the 5th generation family farm, running a 100 head cow/calf operation, and 1200 acres of row crops. Mr. Hilding has recently merged his farming operations with a neighboring farm and is co-managing and actively working the combined 10,000-acre cash crop operations.

Aside from farming, Mr. Hilding has worked as teaching assistant to MSU professor Dr. Laura Cheney (2001-2002) and Dr. David Schweikhardt. He also worked as a legal assistant to John Baker, a staff attorney with Iowa State University who oversaw the ISU Beginning Farmer Center, the National Farm Transition Network, and the Iowa Concerns Legal Hotline (2003-2004). Mr. Hilding worked for two years with the law firm of Smith, Martin, Powers, & Knier, P.C, practicing law in agricultural and bankruptcy matters (2005-2007). Mr. Hilding joined Agricultural & Rural Advocates, PLC in 2007 practicing agricultural law, focusing on business planning, estate planning, real estate matters, tax planning, and workout matters for farmers and agribusiness clients (2007-2010). In 2010, Mr. Hilding established the law firm of Trent C. Hilding, PLC to better serve his current clients with the legal services, knowledge, work ethic, and firm philosophy that has retained and built his agricultural law practice. To continue to serve his clients with the transition of management time in his farming operations, Mr. Hilding and his staff joined Smith Haughey in December of 2019.

Mr. Hilding is a graduate of Michigan State University (B.A. Political Economy, and B.S. Agribusiness Management, 2002) and Drake University (J.D. with Food and Agricultural Law Certificate, 2004). He has also completed a Certificate of Probate and Estate Planning with the Michigan State Bar.


State Bar of Michigan, 2005


Michigan State University (B.A., B.S., 2002) Drake University (J.D., 2004) Certificate of Probate and Estate Planning (Michigan State Bar)


American Agricultural Law Association

Michigan State Bar (Sections: agricultural law, estate planning, business, taxation, and real estate)

American Society of Farm Equipment and Livestock Appraisers

Past Member: American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys

Past President: Montcalm County Farm Bureau Board, Michigan State Bar Agricultural Law Association

Past Vice-President: Montcalm County 4-H Association Board

Michigan Cattlemen’s Association