Employment Law for Massachusetts Farmers

What should farms in Massachusetts consider when hiring employees? What are the rules of the road for agricultural workers in the Commonwealth. These two webinars from 2018 and 2024 cover key information for complying with Massachusetts employment law. Both webinars cover worker classification, overtime, agricultural labor exceptions, minimum wages (note that the amounts changed from 2018 to 2024), and comparing Massachusetts and federal employment laws, and how to know which applies.

Attorney Beth O’Neal of Conn Kavanaugh also covers the following in her 2018 presentation:

  • Consequences of employee misclassification
  • 2018 federal unpaid intern guidance

Attorney Sean Fontes of Partridge Snow & Hahn also covers the following in his 2024 presentation:

  • A deeper dive into agricultural labor
  • Leave and sick time
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Paying minors
  • 2024 federal independent contractor classification rule

Formas alternativas de comprar la granja

Esta guía explora las siguientes formas alternativas de comprar tierras agrícolas:

  • Adquisición de terrenos financiada por el vendedor
  • Compra a plazos
  • Arrendamiento con opción a compra.

Selling Value-Added Products on the Farm

If you are a farmer interested in opening a farmstand on your property, this webinar will teach you about key federal, state and local regulations that impact small food producers who seek to make and sell value-added products from home.  We will cover what’s allowed when selling meat, eggs, dairy, cottage foods such as pickles and baked goods, and more, and explore the legal solutions that can help these businesses grow and thrive.  

Presenter: Legal Services Specialist, Christine Dzujna, of Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund

Hosting a Food Focused Event: The Legal Side of a Delicious Activity

Hosting an event with food on your farm is a great way to gather your community, educate the public about farming, and grow your business. Watch this webinar to learn about next steps to safely and legally offer samples, host a tasting, farm to table meal, or other event with food on your farm. During the session you will hear from Corie Pierce, owner of Bread and Butter Farm in Shelburne, Vermont and regular host of burger nights. You will also hear from Andrew Marchev, Legal Fellow at the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems and Lisa Chase, Agritourism Expert at University of Vermont Extension.

Presenters: Corie Pierce, Bread and Butter Farm Vermont, Dr. Lisa Chase, University of Vermont, Attorney Andrew Marchev, Fellow at Vermont Law School

Laws of the Land: What to Know About Your Farm BEFORE You Commit

You’ve heard the phrase ‘location, location, location’ when it comes to choosing a home. It’s no different for farmers when choosing a site for their farm business. All sites come with unique conditions that impact the farm’s viability, including physical characteristics, zoning restrictions, federal and state permitting requirements, and pre-existing third-party rights of neighbors, landlords, tenants, easement holders, or lenders. This webinar will cover the who, what, how, where, and most importantly, why, of identifying the unique characteristics and regulatory requirements tied to your future farm property before you sign on the dotted line.

Presenters: Attorneys Laura Hartz and Stacey Caulk of Drummond Woodsum

Employment Rules for Agricultural Workers in Maine

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.

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

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.

Introducción a la ley de cultivo

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 legalfoodhub@clf.org o llamando a 1-844-LAW GROW. Para aprender más sobre el Centro Legal de Alimentos, visite  www.legalfoodhub.org .

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.

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.

How to Choose a Business Structure: A Decision Tree

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.