Law, Tax, and Business
The time spent navigating the legal and regulatory aspects of managing a farm business can make a farmer wonder when there’ll be time to actually “farm”. There is no substitute for the advice of an attorney, and by making these resources available, Friends of Family Farmers is not in any way providing legal advice. But the sites and guides below at least provide a broad understanding of many legal, taxation and business issues that all farmers face.
- Advisor Search from Austin Family Business Center offers a list of recommended accountants, attorneys, financial planners, construction firms, insurance providers, and marketing consultants serving Oregon small businesses.
- Oregon State Bar Referral Service
Informational Warehouses and General Guides
- Ag Risk Education Library – Insurance Information & Crop-Specific Enterprise Budgets
- Agriculture Network of Information
- Center for Agricultural Law & Taxation – At Iowa State University
- Drake Law Library’s Agricultural Law Resources
- Farmers’ Legal Action Group Incorporated (FLAG) – Conservation Programs, Contract Farming, Credit, Estate Planning, Marketing, Organics, Tax Issues and more…
- Guide to Farming in New York State – Leasing/Buying, Land Conditions, Infrastructure, Financing, Risk Management, Insurance, Law, Environmental Regulations
- A Guide to Farming in Pennsylvania – Pre-Venture Planning, Production, Marketing, Value-Added Agriculture, Farm Transition
- Illinois Direct Farm Business – Structuring & Setting Up a Direct Farm Business, Marketing & Managing, Taxation, Labor, Regulation by Product Category/Activity
- A Legal Guide for Wisconsin Farmers Secured Transactions, Landlord/Tenant, Working with an Attorney, Farm Foreclosure, Bankruptcy
- A Legal Guide to the Business of Farming in Vermont – Estate Planning, Leasing, Land Use Regulation, Farm Labor, Environmental Regulation, Insurance, Organics, On-Farm Processing & Marketing
- National Agricultural Law Center – At University of Arkansas
- New American FoodShed Guide Decision Tree helps beginning farmers decide how to organize as a business, how to pursue financing, which advisors to seek and how to market.
- New England Small Farm Institute Publications
- Oregon Ag Laws compiled by ODA. Includes a guide to licensing
- At 900+ pages, Neil E. Harl’s Agricultural Law Manual is a very comprehensive, albeit technical, manual.
Creating a Business Entity
- Chart of Business Forms: Compare the pros and cons LLCs, Corporations, Sole Proprietorship and more.
- LLC Creation Checklist
- IC-DISC corporations which may have substantial tax savings for farmers who export crops
Leasing and Land Contracts
- Drake University’s Landowner’s Guide to Sustainable Farm Leasing
- Variable Cost Lease
- Sample Lease Agreements – Variable cost based on market sales, and Partnership
- Resources for Agricultural Cooperatives:
- A brief introduction to Agricultural Co-ops from OSU Extension
- USDA Cooperative Assistance Programs, Oregon Office
- Northwest Cooperative Development Center – a regional non-profit
- USDA Reference Library on Cooperatives
- USDA Rural Cooperatives Magazine – a free publication
- Current Issues in Cooperative Finance and Government – a 205-page study by James Baarda
- University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives – includes good papers on cutting edge topics
- National Cooperative Business Association – a co-op trade group
- CDS Consulting Co-op – a group dedicated to helping new food co-ops
- Taxation of Co-operatives and their Patrons – email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy
- Stronger Together – a consumer website developed by the National Cooperative Grocers Association
- UN International Year of Co-ops
- Lights, Camera, Co-ops – an ongoing video series of co-op stories from around the USA.
- Articles of incorporation and bylaws for two interesting multi-stakeholder cooperatives: Sandhills Farm to Table Cooperative and Fifth Season Cooperative
- Business Management and Financing Resources from ODA
- Business Plan Checklist
- Business Planning Resources from OSU and SARE. Includes a one-page business plan and one-page financial sheet from Farm Credit East.
- Business Planning from OSU Extension and SARE. Includes a model One-Page Business Plan from Farm Credit East and the extensive Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management Planning Book, and AgTools, OSU’s free online computer programs that help farmers make strategic, long-term decisions on a whole farm basis.
- Cash Flow Powerpoint
Employment and Legal Internships
- Farming and the Law - resources from the Greenhorns on worker’s comp, internships and apprenticeships
- FLAG’s workbook on farm internships>>>
- The State of Internships in Oregon: A general explanation of internships, apprenticeships and employment models for training young farmers.
- US Department of Labor Employment Law Guide
- Licensing Guide from ODA
- Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in Ag – from ODA
- Environmental Laws Affecting State Agriculture – From the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Research Foundation (NASDA)
- Rural Tax Education: from USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), this site is a resource for agricultural related income and self-employment tax information
- Small Farm Tax Guide
- Agricultural Law
- Midwest Agricultural Law Guide
- United States Agricultural & Food Law and Policy
- West Coast Ag & Food Law