Your Legal Toolkit for Starting a Farm

When you’re starting a farm business, there are lots of important legal issues to consider, from what type of business entity you’ll form to how to protect yourself from liability and plan for the future. This comprehensive webinar will equip farmers with the legal know-how to tackle these key decisions and start off on a strong legal footing.

Employment Law for Maine Farmers

Navigating employment laws on your farm can be a challenging task. This webinar will help Maine farmers understand how to handle various workers on your farm, including WOOFers, volunteers, and CSA workers.

Presenter: Tom Trenholm, Drummond Woodsum.

Elements of a Farmland Lease

When a farmer works with a landowner to put together a farmland lease, there are many important considerations. This webinar will inform farmers and nonprofit farm organizations about the key elements that should be in a farmland lease.

Presenter: Jeff Polubinski, Gravel & Shea.

Starting your Farm or Food Business: Succession Planning

When you’re forming your LLC or other business entity, it is important to plan for the future. This webinar will prepare you with key questions to consider about succession planning when forming your business.

Presenter: Kim Memmesheimer, Hoefle, Phoenix, Gormley & Roberts, PLLC.

Options for Forming a Social Enterprise

As a farmer or food entrepreneur, you may want to create a successful business while also working for social good. In a social enterprise, these goals go hand-in-hand. In this webinar, we’ll discuss the details of a social enterprise. And, we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of common business structures that can be the foundation for your social enterprise (sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, corporations, co-ops, and non-profits).

Presenters: Colin Antaya, Esq. and Kohei Ishihara Founder of Movement Ground Farm

Opening Your Farm to Visitors and Controlling for Liability

From farm dinners to CSA pick-ups, and from Airbnb to educational programs, you might open your farm to friends, neighbors, and even tourists. As you welcome visitors to your farm, you need to be ready to handle the myriad of risks that they bring with them. Join us to receive practical advice from an agritourism expert, an insurance agent, and an attorney. Each will provide you with tools to prepare for the worst and enjoy the best.

Presenters: Attorney Mary Rose Scozzafava; Stuart Farnham, AFIS Vice President of Frazer Insurance Agency, Inc.; Lisa Chase, University of Vermont Agritourism Expert

Hiring Your First Farm Employees

Congratulations! Your farm business has grown, and you are in dire need of hiring some help. Enter employment law – specifically, agricultural employment law. Join our one-hour webinar to learn the general laws that you are required to follow as an agricultural employer. We will cover important pay considerations, how to get employees properly set up, and best practices to avoid discrimination lawsuits. After this session, you will feel confident to make your first hires.

Presenter: Attorney John S. Gannon, Skoler-Abbott LLC.

Resolving Challenging Issues through Agricultural Mediation

Sometimes, as a farmer, you find yourself stuck or facing a conflict. Whether your business has been threatened, a creditor is hounding you, or a neighbor is making complaints about your farm, you are not alone. The USDA’s certified Agricultural Mediation programs can help you through these situations.

The mediation program is a free service that gives all voices an opportunity to be heard and work together toward a solution that works for everyone. In this webinar, you will have a chance to meet Agricultural mediators in New England. They will give you an overview of the program and share some stories that illustrate the effectiveness of their work.

Presenter: Matt Strassberg, Director of the Environmental Mediation Center

Understanding Purchase and Sale Agreements

A purchase and sale agreement is the document that establishes the steps of the transaction, as well as the responsibilities of the Seller and the Buyer. Purchasing real estate can seem like a complicated process but we will walk you through it.

During this webinar, Massachusetts attorney Richard Cavanaugh of Common Grow, LLC will discuss typical provisions in a purchase and sale agreement. He will also cover some other issues – like zoning and wetland restrictions – that you should consider when deciding whether or not to buy a property.

Presenter: Attorney Rich Kavanaugh, Common Grow LLC.

Regulations and Insurance for CT Food Businesses

The Yale Law School Ludwig Center for Community & Economic Development provides legal services to clients to promote economic opportunity. The clinic has assisted affordable housing developers, community development financial institutions, farms and farmer’s markets, and many other clients to increase access to resources and break down economic barriers. Paul Healy is a second-year law student and member of the Clinic. His legal interests include startup financing and urban development. He also holds a master’s degree in Economics from Oxford University. Bessie Bauman is a third-year undergraduate and research assistant to the Clinic. Her legal interests include welfare law and urban development.

Legal Requirements for CT Food Businesses

Paul Healy and Bessie Bauman of the Yale Law School Ludwig Center for Community & Economic Development provide information on legal issues relevant to Connecticut food businesses.  This webinar addresses:

  • Forming a business entity
  • Food licensing requirements
  • Employment and immigration rules
  • Tax filings

Co-Op Law 101

Co-ops are member owned entities that provide a solid foundation for farms and community members to collaboratively support the local food system. Attorney Dave Swanson of Dorsey & Whitney is going to provide a baseline knowledge of co-ops, including consumer co-ops and grower co-ops. He is also going to discuss what to consider when choosing a business structure and specifically the differences between non-profits and co-ops. With over 35 years of experience and Land O’Lakes and dozens of consumer coops as a clients, Dave is sure to provide a webinar filled with valuable information.

FSMA Inspections: What Growers Need to Know

Sara Dewey and Mary Rose Scozzafava of the Conservation Law Foundation review the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule and what it will mean for Massachusetts farmers. Topics include: what is the produce safety rule, how does it relate to the Commonwealth Quality Program, and what inspections will look like for farmers in 2020.

Protecting Your Recipes: Trade Secrets and More

Mary Rose Scozzafava, Senior Fellow at Conservation Law Foundation presents a webinar on how best to protect your recipes as a food entrepreneur. Topics include: challenges to protecting recipes, trade secret, trademark, and using the recipes of others.

Is your Farm Apprenticeship Legal?

What do farmers need to know to legally bring on a farm apprentice? The laws governing apprenticeships can be complicated, and it is important for farmers to understand how to comply with wage and hour laws. Andrew Dennington, a partner at Conn Kavanaugh in Boston, presents on this important topic in a recording from the NOFA/Mass winter conference in 2018.

Employment Law for Massachusetts Farmers

What should Massachusetts farmers consider when hiring an employee? What are the rules of the road for agricultural workers in the Commonwealth? Beth O’Neal, an employment law attorney and partner at Conn Kavanaugh in Boston, presents key topics that farmers should know when bringing on employees. The webinar covers how to classify the different types of workers you may bring onto your farm, including employees, independent contractors, volunteers, interns, and apprentices. It reviews wage and overtime rules and other rules of the road for these different types of workers. Finally, it concludes with tips to ensure that you are complying with the law.

Shared Use & Community Kitchens

Community kitchens can provide entrepreneurs and community groups a crucial link to building food businesses or running community food programs. This webinar shares some of the considerations for using shared community kitchen space legally, safely and successfully. The webinar includes an introduction to community use of kitchens, understanding the basics of what community and residential kitchens are and are not allowed to do, key legal considerations for community kitchens, and a case study of a successful food entrepreneur working who started in a shared kitchen.

This webinar was produced by Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in partnership with Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, Conservation Law Foundation, Massachusetts Association of Health Boards, Franklin County Community Development Corporation, and Whole Harmony.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

This webinar, presented by CLF Senior Fellow and attorney Mary Rose Scozzafava, provides an overview of trademark and copyright law for food entrepreneurs and farmers,. If you are proud of the brand you’ve built and want to understand how best to protect it, this webinar is a great starting point. The webinar includes introductions to the following topics: (1) trademarks, including registering, using, and enforcing your trademark; (2) copyright; (3) patent; and (3) trade secret.

Governing Nonprofit Organizations

Although being involved with a nonprofit organization can be fulfilling, both personally and professionally, the law and best practices regarding its governance can be confusing. This webinar, presented by the Harvard Transactional Law Clinics, provides a brief introduction to nonprofit and charitable organizations, and addresses the duties and responsibilities for running such an organization including the role of the Board, management, and ongoing Massachusetts and U.S. filing responsibilities.

FSMA Produce Safety Rule: Selected Topics

This webinar provides a useful overview of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, presented by Rhode Island attorney Sumana Chintapalli and University of Rhode Island food safety expert Lori Pivarnik. It is a good starting point to become better acquainted with the Produce Safety Rule. The webinar includes an overview of the requirements under the rule, key definitions to know, activities covered under the rule, and how to determine if your farm is covered by the rule or exempt from it. It also reviews the requirements for agricultural water, biological soil amendments, domesticated and wild animals, and record keeping. Finally, it covers the timeline for compliance.

Employment Law for Rhode Island Farmers

Understanding employment laws is essential to protect both farmers and their employees. This webinar, presented by Erica Kyzmir-McKeon, former CLF Senior Fellow & Attorney, and Gina A. DiCenso, Attorney at Law, gives an overview of common employment law issues that farmers face. The webinar covers (1) federal and state wage laws; (2) the the legal distinctions between unpaid interns, registered apprentices, and volunteers; and (3) federal and state leave laws.

Student Loan Basics for Farmers

Student loan debt has become a significant obstacle for young farmers who are trying to make a living in agriculture. This webinar, led by Erica Kyzmir-McKeon, former CLF Senior Fellow & Attorney, and Deanne Loonin, Attorney at the Project on Predatory Student Lending at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, discusses the different types of student loans and how borrowers can deal with them. The webinar begins with the basics of understanding your loans, including how to determine the type of loans you have and a review of types of federal loans and loan servicers. The webinar then discusses managing repayment, avoiding or getting out of loan default, and loan cancellation.

Setting up Your Food Policy Council

What options are available for Food Policy Councils in terms of structure, group composition, and the decision-making process? How can you ensure that your FPC’s work reflects your community’s needs? Hear from Sara Dewey (CLF) and Andrea Freeman (MA Public Health Association) on these topics and more in our webinar, Setting up Your Food Policy Council: Getting Started With Governance. The webinar provides an introduction to Food Policy Councils and then dives into key issues you need to consider when setting up or participating in a Food Policy Council, including building effective coalitions, structuring a Council and working toward a diverse and inclusive membership, and dividing up roles and responsibilities to get work done.

Food Policy Councils & Advocacy

What is food policy? How can Food Policy Councils shape it? And what is the current landscape of food policy advocacy in Massachusetts? Learn about these topics from Sara Dewey (CLF) and Brittany Peats (MA Food System Collaborative) in our webinar, Putting Food Policy Councils to Work: Advancing Food Policy in Massachusetts. The webinar will cover the following topics: (1) the basics of what Food Policy Councils are and what they can do; (2) an introduction to food policy and how Food Policy Councils can shape policy at all levels of government; and (3) updates about food policy in Massachusetts and opportunities for Food Policy Councils to get involved.