Understanding labor and employment law is essential for operating a successful farm. Both federal and New Hampshire law treat agricultural work differently than other forms of employment. Depending on the size of the farm and the agricultural tasks done, an employee may be exempt from, for example, minimum wage. This guide is a brief look at what labor laws apply to farming activities to help New Hampshire agricultural employers and employees understand their rights and obligations. Most employee standards are detailed in Title 23 of New Hampshire’s statutes.
Understanding the requirements of labor and employment law is essential in operating a successful farm business. Both Maine and federal law treat agricultural work differently than other forms of employment. Before hiring an employee, it is important to familiarize yourself with the relevant state and federal laws that govern the employer/employee relationship. This guide is intended to inform farm employers about the general requirements when hiring employees.
Si bien muchos arrendamientos de granjas se realizan con un acuerdo verbal, esta práctica no es una buena idea porque no hay un acuerdo por escrito en caso de desacuerdo entre las partes. Un contrato de arrendamiento bien escrito hará que los términos del arrendamiento sean claros y dejará menos oportunidades para malentendidos y reducirá la probabilidad de un conflicto entre el propietario y el agricultor.
Esta guía explora las siguientes formas alternativas de comprar terrenos de cultivo:
- Adquisición de terreno financiado por el vendedor
- Compra a plazos
- Arrendamiento con opción de compra.
En Nueva Inglaterra, muchos agricultores escojen alquilar sus tierras en vez de comprarlas. Es importante pensar sobre qué debe incluir el contrato de alquiler y abogar por usted mismo para que las provisiones que necesita estén incluídas en dicho contrato. En esta guía se discuten varios de los asuntos en los que debe pensar incluir en su contrato con la ayuda de su abogado.
In New England, many farmers choose to lease their farmland instead of buying it. It is important to think about what your farmland lease will include and advocate for yourself so that the provisions that you need are in the lease. This guide discusses several of the issues that you should think about including in your lease with the help of your lawyer.
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.
This Guide explores the following alternative ways to purchase farmland:
- Seller-financed land acquisition
- Purchase by installments
- Lease with an option to purchase.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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