Save the Date for Upcoming Workshops: Farm/Ranch Transition When You Aren’t in Control

A rancher once said, “No one has the right to automatically inherit a family farm or ranch… but everyone has the right to know what is going on.”

Passing the farm/ranch on to the next generation is a tough job, especially if the next generation is unsure of what will happen when their parents pass. It is especially for those people, who are wondering what is going on, that a series of farm and ranch transition workshops are planned at Valentine, Ainsworth, O’Neill, Norfolk and York from Oct. 23 to Nov. 14.

The workshops will focus on the needs of the “sandwich generation” between parents who still own and land and children who might want to join the operation, on whom farm/ranch transition and transfer often falls.

Lack of communication often hinders transitions. The Gen2, or Sandwich Generation, will learn how to communicate with family to understand the transition and practice asking difficult questions. A handbook and script will help farmers/ranchers to complete transition “homework.”

Legal topics presented at the workshops will center around Gen2 needs, including elements of a good business entity, levels of layers for on-farm heirs control and access, and turning agreements into effective written leases. Joe Hawbaker, estate planning attorney, and Allan Vyhnalek, Nebraska Extension transition specialist, will share stories and experiences to successfully plan on the legal side.

Transition of the land is important, but farmers and ranchers should also work to transition the business. Dave Goeller, financial and transition specialist, will cover financial considerations, retirement, and compensation versus contribution.

Many families struggle to split assets fairly between on-ranch and off-ranch heirs, while continuing the ranch as a business. Goeller will discuss the family side and what to consider when dividing assets.  Vyhnalek will also cover less-than-ideal situations, negotiating, and looking for other business options.

Below are workshop dates and locations. The times are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. local time at each location. Pre-register one week prior for a meal count.

Cost is $20 per person. If more than two people are attending per operation, the cost is $15/person.  Pre-register one week prior for a meal count to the local extension office. 

Funding for this project was provided by the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Award Number 2015-49200-24226.

October Free Farm Clinic Dates

Farmers and ranchers are invited to attend a FREE clinic.  The clinics are one-on-one, not group sessions, and are confidential.  The Farm Finance clinic gives you a chance to meet with an experienced Ag law attorney and Ag financial counselor.  These clinic staff specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters.  Here is an opportunity to obtain an experienced outside opinion on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.  Bring your questions!

The FREE farm and ranch clinics will be in these locations:

  • Grand Island – Thursday, October 4th
  • North Platte – Thursday, October 11th
  • Norfolk – Friday, October 12th
  • Fairbury – Wednesday, October 17th
  • Lexington – Thursday, October 18th
  • Valentine – Monday, October 22nd
  • Norfolk – Monday, October 22nd

To sign up for a clinic or for more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline: 1-800-464-0258.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska sponsor the farm finance clinics.

September 1 and Your Lease

An oldie but goodie post as Nebraska farmers approach September 1st:

There is evidence that in Nebraska, most farm leases are oral year-to-year leases.  This is important because Nebraska law governs how to terminate such leases and September 1 is a critical day should a landowner wish to terminate an oral lease.

First, the law:

The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that a farm lease begins on March 1 for oral year-to-year leases.  To terminate an oral year-to-year lease, however, the Court has ruled that six months notice must be given prior to March 1.  In other words, to terminate an oral year-to-year lease, a notice to quit must be received by the tenant prior to September 1 of the preceding year.

Second, some examples:

Example 1:

The landowner as an oral year-to-year tenant.  Landowner decides she wants to terminate her lease with Tenant because she wants her nephew to rent the land beginning March 1, 2019. Landowner sends a letter to Tenant and Tenant receives it October 30, 2018.  Is the lease terminated so the nephew may rent it on March 1, 2019?

No, the lease is not terminated because an oral year-to-year lease requires a tenant to receive notice by September 1, 2018.  Here, Tenant received noticed from Landowner on October 30, 2018.  This means that Tenant may lease the farm land until August 31, 2019.

Example 2:

Same facts as above except now, Landowner sends a notice to quit to Tenant, which Tenant receives on August 30, 2018.  Is this lease terminated so the nephew may rent it on March 1, 2019?

Yes, the lease will terminate as of February 28, 2019.  Keep in mind the lease between Landowner and Tenant continues through February 28, 2019 but the Tenant has received a proper six months notice of termination, which is required under Nebraska law.

Third, some gotchas:

The above represent the default rules in Nebraska for termination of unwritten year-to-year leases.  The landowner and tenant can come to a mutual, voluntary agreement to modify the default rules.  Thus, if both the landowner and tenant agree, an unwritten year-to-year lease may end in June with 30 days notice.  The key is that there must be a mutual, voluntary agreement to do so.

If a landowner is terminating an unwritten year-to-year lease, it is advisable to do so with a letter and not in-person.  Additionally, it is best to send the notice to quit with time to spare from the September 1 deadline, as the tenant must receive the notice by September 1; it is not relevant when the landlord sends the notice.

Moreover, the above rules do not apply to written leases.  To terminate a written lease, the landowner and tenant must merely review what the lease states about termination and follow the lease provisions.

If you need clarification or just want to ask about dates and deadlines, you are welcome to contact us.  We’re happy to help farmers and ranchers (both landowner and tenant!).

September Farm Finance Clinic

Farmers and ranchers are invited to attend a FREE clinic.  The clinics are one-on-one, not group sessions, and are confidential.  The Farm Finance clinic gives you a chance to meet with an experienced Ag law attorney and Ag financial counselor.  These clinic staff specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters.  Here is an opportunity to obtain an experienced outside opinion on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.  Bring your questions!

The FREE farm and ranch clinics will be in these locations:

  • Norfolk – Tuesday, September 4
  • Grand Island – Thursday, September 6
  • North Platte – Thursday, September 13
  • Fairbury – Friday, September 14
  • Norfolk – Tuesday, September 18
  • Lexington – Thursday, September 20

To sign up for a clinic or for more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline:  1-800-464-0258.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska sponsor the farm finance clinics.

CRP Enrollment Deadline Friday, August 17, 2018.

Friday, August 17th is the last day to enroll in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). This program is for eligible producers who agree to take sensitive land out of production. In return, the producer will receive an annual rental payment and cost-share assistance for installing practices from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Land must be eligible and suitable for certain conservation practices which include, but not limited to, riparian buffer, wetland restoration on flood plain, filter strips, and grass waterways. Contracts for this program can last 10-15 years and payments will reflect the updated soil rental rates. For more information, please visit the CRP Continuous Enrollment Period. Or contact your local Farm Service Agency Office.

If you have any questions regarding various programs available from the Farm Service Agency, please send them to us.

Women’s Learning Circle Opportunity

IMG_20180725_201655_062Who: Women non-operator landowners who are working with beginning farmers, and own more than 40 acres, may have inherited farmland, or are feeling overwhelmed with all of the decisions of farmland management.

When: Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, 9 a.m. (to beat the heat!)

Where: West Blue Farm, 146 Co. Rd. 1900, Milford, Nebraska

West Blue Farm has sold direct market fresh meat since 1990, and the operation has recently transitioned to a beginning farmer couple.

Attendees will learn about how to look at areas of risk, learn to communicate with their operators, and will be able to ask questions about the operation. Topics include financial risk management, grazing, and farm diversification.

In addition, attendees have an opportunity to pick up a risk management planning guide and join in a learning circle-style discussion on conservation, land transitions, multi-generational management structures, and long-term business goals.

There is no charge to attend, however registration is requested to make sure we have enough materials and refreshments available. 

August Farm Finance Clinics

Farmers and ranchers are invited to attend a FREE clinic.  The clinics are one-on-one, not group sessions, and are confidential.  The Farm Finance clinic gives you a chance to meet with an experienced Ag law attorney and Ag financial counselor.  These clinic staff specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters.  Here is an opportunity to obtain an experienced outside opinion on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.  Bring your questions!

The FREE farm and ranch clinics will be in these locations:

  • Fairbury – Thursday, August 2nd
  • Grand Island – Thursday, August 2nd
  • North Platte – Thursday, August 9th
  • Lexington, Thursday, August 16th
  • Norfolk – Wednesday, August 22nd
  • Valentine – Thursday, August 23rd
  • Fairbury- Thursday, August 30th

To sign up for a clinic or for more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline:  1-800-464-0258.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska sponsor the farm finance clinics.

July Farm Finance Clinic Dates

Farmers and ranchers are invited to attend a FREE clinic.  The clinics are one-on-one, not group sessions, and are confidential.  The Farm Finance clinic gives you a chance to meet with an experienced Ag law attorney and Ag financial counselor.  These clinic staff specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters.  Here is an opportunity to obtain an experienced outside opinion on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.  Bring your questions!

The FREE farm and ranch clinics will be in these locations:

  • Grand Island – Thursday, July 5th
  • North Platte – Thursday, July 12th
  • Valentine – Monday, July 16th
  • Lexington – Thursday, July 19th
  • Norfolk – Friday, July 20th
  • Fairbury – Thursday, August 2nd

To sign up for a clinic or for more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline:  1-800-464-0258.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska sponsor the farm finance clinics.

South Dakota Farm and Ranch Succession and USDA Program Workshops

Two separate free workshops will be offered to farmers and ranchers in western South Dakota. The workshops are from 9am-12pm. These workshops are not limited to Beginning Farmers and Ranchers and are open to the public. To register (and for questions) call the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.

Wednesday, July 11th 2018

Sturgis, South Dakota

Sturgis Community Center

1401 Lazelle Street

Thursday, July 12th 2018

Belle Fourche, South Dakota

First Interstate Bank

41 5th Street

Each workshop will address farm and ranch estate and succession planning, including transfer tools (wills, titling & trusts), incapacity planning, taxes, co-ownership of assets, direct and indirect forms of ownership, legal tools for balancing the interests of on-farm and off-farm heirs, asset protection, and examples of planning.  The workshops will also cover USDA/Farm Service Agency loan programs for beginning and established farmers and ranchers, including direct and guaranteed loans, beginning farmer loans, microloans, and storage facility loans.

These workshops are made available through The Nebraska Network for Beginning Ranchers and Farmers, which includes services in South Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado, and the Farm Law Project of Legal Aid of Nebraska.

Presenters:  Joe Hawbaker, Agricultural Law Attorney with Hawbaker Law Office, Omaha, Nebraska. Amy Swoboda, Farm and Food Attorney with Legal Aid of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska.

June Farm Finance Clinic Dates

Farmers and ranchers are invited to attend a FREE clinic.  The clinics are one-on-one, not group sessions, and are confidential.  The Farm Finance clinic gives you a chance to meet with an experienced Ag law attorney and Ag financial counselor.  These clinic staff specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters.  Here is an opportunity to obtain an experienced outside opinion on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.  Bring your questions!

The FREE farm and ranch clinics will be in these locations:

  • Fairbury – Wednesday, June 6th
  • Grand Island – Thursday, June 7th
  • North Platte – Tuesday, June 12th
  • Lexington – Thursday, June 21st
  • Valentine – Thursday, June 21st
  • Norfolk – Wednesday, June 27th

To sign up for a clinic or for more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline:  1-800-464-0258.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska sponsor the farm finance clinics.