Negotiating A Farmland Lease

While many farm leases are done with a handshake, this practice is not a good idea because there is no written agreement in the event of a disagreement between the parties. A well-written lease agreement will make the lease terms clear and leave less opportunity for misunderstanding and reduces the likelihood of a potential conflict between a landowner and a farmer.

Alternative Ways to Buy The Farm

This Guide explores the following alternative ways to purchase farmland:

  • Seller-financed land acquisition
  • Purchase by installments
  • Lease with an option to purchase.

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.

A Working Guide to Current Use Taxation for Agricultural Lands

Developed by Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, “A Working Guide to Current Use Taxation for Agricultural Lands” provides an overview of current use policies across the U.S. 

Current use programs—which generally allow farmers to pay taxes on their land at current (agricultural) value rather than its assessed value for another non-farming use—are an important tool in the farmland preservation toolbox. 

Written by Vermont Law School adjunct professor Jess Phelps, this guide explains the concept of current use and examines current use policies and programs. Identifying common challenges and opportunities, it aims to help policymakers adapt current use programs to modern farmland preservation needs. It also dives into a case study of current use in Vermont to explore how a program functions at the farm level, and includes a handy reference guide to state current use statutes across the country.

This guide was funded by the National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Reorganizing a Farm Business with Chapter 12 of the Bankruptcy Code: A Brief Guide

Farm reorganization through chapter 12 is a powerful tool for farmers seeking to restructure burdensome debt, change production models, or even transition a farm to the next generation. It can help farming and fishing operations avoid financial distress and allow them to transform their operation or transfer it to the next generation—without requiring liquidation or financial insolvency. This guide covers who is involved, who is eligible, the benefits, and how it works. 

Reglas de empleo para trabajadores agrícolas en massachusetts

El trabajo agrícola se trata de manera diferente a otros tipos de empleo según la ley; sin embargo, a veces es difícil realizar lo que se considera  trabajo agrícola. Esta guía está destinada a ayudar a los agricultores de Massachusetts a determinar qué es trabajo agrícola, que no lo es, y por qué es importante. Aprenderás:

  • ¿Qué es el trabajo agrícola en Massachusetts?
  • Reglas de salario mínimo y horas extras para empleados agrícolas
  • Reglas de salario mínimo y horas extras para empleados regulares

Comprar la granja – parte 2

Una vez que se ha negociado un trato, un agricultor trabaja con el propietario de la tierra para comprar tierras agrícolas por el precio de compra acordado. La Parte II de esta Guía se centra en

(i) los elementos de un Acuerdo de compraventa,

ii) el proceso de investigación de “debida diligencia” que todo agricultor debe realizar,

(iii) la escritura y otros documentos de cierre de la adquisición, y

(iv) el cierre.

Comprar la granja – parte 1

Los agricultores pueden obtener derechos sobre las tierras agrícolas de diversas formas, por ejemplo, mediante un contrato de arrendamiento con el propietario de las tierras agrícolas, compartiendo la propiedad de la tierra con otros o adquiriendo la propiedad total (título de “tarifa simple”) de las tierras agrícolas. La Parte I de esta Guía se centra en:

(i) los diferentes tipos de propiedad de la tierra,

ii) las ventajas y desventajas de comprar la tierra de cultivo directamente a través de la propiedad simple de pago, y

(iii) consideraciones a la hora de localizar la tierra de cultivo adecuada para comprar.

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.

Buying the Farm – Part I

Farmers can obtain rights to farmland in a variety of ways, for example, by entering into a lease with the owner of the farmland, sharing ownership of the land with others, or acquiring full ownership (“fee simple” title) of the farmland. Part I of this Guide focuses on:

(i) the different types of land ownership,

ii) the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing the farmland directly through fee simple ownership, and

(iii) considerations when locating the right farmland to purchase.

Buying the Farm – Part II

Once a deal has been negotiated, a farmer works with the land owner to buy farmland for the agreed-upon purchase price. Part II of this Guide focuses on

(i) the elements of a Purchase and Sale Agreement,

ii) the investigation “due diligence” process that every farmer should undertake,

(iii) the deed and other acquisition closing documents, and

(iv) the closing.

Vermont’s Current Use Program

This legal guide provides a brief overview of Vermont’s Current Use Program—a state program designed to keep taxes on working lands affordable so long as land is being used for active agricultural purposes. The guide includes a high-level summary of the Program, including:

  • Eligibility requirements for enrolling
  • Steps for applying
  • How to maintain enrolled status and how to withdraw from the Program
  • How to transfer ownership of enrolled land

Decidir la estructura apropriada para su negocio

Seleccionar una estructura de negocios es una de las primeras decisiones a tomar cuando se comienza con un negocio agrícola o de alimentos. La estructura que usted escoge influencia las operaciones del día a día, cómo pagará los impuestos e inclusive cuánto de sus posesiones personales está en riesgo. Esta Guía Relámpago les muestra  a los agricultores y negociantes de alimentos cómo diferenciar los tipos de estructuras de negocios. Usted aprenderá sobre:

  • propiedades individuales,
  • sociedades generales,
  • compañías de responsabilidad limitada (LLCs), y
  • corporaciones.

La guía compara los requerimientos para la formación de negocios, responsabilidades e impuestos por pagar para las diferentes estructuras. Use esta guía útil para comenzar su exploración de la estructura de negocios más apropiada para usted.

Exenciones de responsabilidad para actividades agrícolas dentro de la finca

Las fincas frecuentemente son anfitrionas de actividades que atraen visitas a la finca, como visitas de escuelas a la finca, días de voluntariado y agroturismo. Dichos eventos ofrecen oportunidades valorables para incrementar ingresos y hacer crecer el alcance al público sobre la finca. Pero, los accidentes pasan — particularmente a los visitantes que no están familiarizados con los peligros que generalmente se encuentran en una finca. A los agricultores frecuentemente se les aconseja que pidan a sus visitantes que firmen un documento de exención de responsabilidad. Pero ¿Cómo es que un documento de exención de responsabilidad puede reducir la responsabilidad legal de una finca? ¿Pueden reducir el riesgo de responsabilidad de la finca y posibles demandas en contra de la finca si un visitante tiene un accidente? Esta guía legal discute cómo utilizar los documentos de exención de responsabilidad, lo que éstos pueden lograr, y qué debe incluirse en un documento de exención de responsabilidad bien redactado.

Lo básico de los impuestos sobre el salario

Las reglas que gobiernan los impuestos sobre el salario pueden ser complicadas. Los impuestos sobre el salario generalmente son calculados como un porcentaje del salario del empleado. Las fincas que emplean a trabajadores, deben retener dinero de los cheques de pago de sus empleados, emitir dichas cantidades retenidas a las autoridades de impuestos apropiadas, y declarar los impuestos sobre el salario a las agencias federales y estatales. Esta guía hace un esquema sobre qué son los impuestos sobre el salario y cómo y dónde pagarlos. Después de leer esta guía usted sabrá:

  • ¿qué son los impuestos sobre el salario y quién es responsable de los pagos?
  • las especificaciones de los diferentes tipos de impuestos sobre el salario
  • las exenciones especiales dadas a los empleados en agricultura

Le negociación del alquiler de sus tierras

Muchos agricultores escogen alquilar sus tierras de cultivo. Cuando usted alquila, considere cuáles son las necesidades de su finca antes de firmar el contrato. Abogue por usted mismo para que las provisiones que usted necesita se incluyan en el contrato de arrendamiento. Esta guía navegará el proceso de negociación del alquiler. Discute varios aspectos los cuales debe pensar en incluir en su contrato.

Selling Farm Products Through Online Food Hubs

In response to market changes, many local farmers have started selling their farm products directly to customers through local food hubs. Farm produce and local value-added products go right from the farmer, cook or baker to a delivery hub where orders are assembled and prepared for delivery or pick-up. Before you sell your products through a local food hub, you need to understand what may be required of you. This legal guide discusses:

• Pros and cons of participating in a food hub
• Vendor agreements with a local food hub

Running a Farmer Operated Food Hub

In response to market changes, many local farmers have started selling their farm products directly to customers through other farmers. Farm produce and local value-added products go right from the farmer, cook or baker to another farmer or business where orders are assembled and prepared for delivery or pick-up. This model is generally known as a food hub. If you are considering setting up a local food hub, this guide outlines the following legal considerations to keep in mind:

• Forming a separate entity
• Terms and conditions of agreements between farmers or vendors
• When a warehouse license must be obtained
• Collecting sales tax
• When a 1099-K must be issued