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.
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
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.
Esta guía es un resumen de problemas legales importantes que un agricultor en Massachusetts debe conocer. Incluye información sobre:
- Cuándo se debe trabajar con un abogado
- Cómo crear una estructura de negocios
- Cómo acceder a tierras agrícolas a través del alquiler o la compra
- Las consideraciones a tomar cuando se hace un borrador y cuando se firma un contrato
- Algunas de las consideraciones de impuestos para los agricultores
Esta guía provee un esquema básico sobre los problemas legales a considerar para su finca/ tierras agrícolas. Es un punto para comenzar a pensar en ciertos tipos de asuntos. Esta guía no constituye consejo legal y usted debe contactar a un abogado si usted tiene alguna pregunta sobre estos temas.
Le animamos a buscar ayuda legal si usted tiene preguntas o preocupaciones acerca de cómo cualquiera de estos problemas discutidos se aplica en sus operaciones individuales. Usted puede comenzar por contactar al Centro Legal de Alimentos (Legal Food Hub), donde proveen asistencia legal gratuita para aquellos agricultores que sean elegibles a través de firstname.lastname@example.org o llamando a 1-844-LAW GROW. Para aprender más sobre el Centro Legal de Alimentos, visite www.legalfoodhub.org .
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.
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.
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.
As a farmer or food business, choosing a business structure is an important decision with important implications for your business and your personal liability. This decision guide, developed by Conservation Law Foundation, walks you through the different business structures you can consider and weighs the advantage and drawbacks of each option. This guide is a great starting point for businesses thinking about what business structure is right for you.