Maine Employment Rules for Agricultural Workers

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.

Introduction to Land Leases

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.

Farmland Leases

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.

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.

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.

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

Home Delivery of Farm Products

Local farmers are adjusting their business operations to incorporate new ways of getting their products to customers and seizing the opportunity to add new marketing channels to their existing farm businesses. For many farmers, this shift has meant delivering products directly to the doors of their customers. If you are a farmer engaged or considering engaging in home delivery of farm products, this guide outlines some legal considerations to keep in mind.

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.

How to Work with a Lawyer

While there are a lot of legal needs you can tackle yourself, sometimes you need help or information from an attorney. Learn how to work best with your lawyer to get the results you want.  Your lawyer will likely ask a lot of questions at the first meeting. Here’s how to be ready for them, and how to prepare relevant questions of your own.

Operating a Sole Proprietorship

As the owner of a farm or food enterprise, you choose how you want to operate it. Choosing the right business structure is important because it affects many aspects of your company.  For example, it can influence tax treatment, exposure to risk and liability, and personal control over the business.  New farmers or food entrepreneurs often operate as sole proprietors.  This legal guide discusses the features and obligations of operating your business is as a sole proprietorship.

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.