Free Workshop on Farm and Ranch Business Succession & Estate Planning in Harrison, NE, April 26th

You are welcome to attend a free workshop on business succession and estate planning for farm and ranch owners, families and beginners.   The workshop will be held at the Harrison Fire Hall on April 26th.  The workshop runs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  There is no charge for the workshop.  To register (and for questions) call the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.  A lunch will be provided.

The workshop is about farm and ranch business succession and family estate planning.  It will include a discussion of beginning farmer programs that can aid in succession planning.  The workshop should be useful for established farm and ranch owners, for their successors, and for beginners.   Topics include:  stages of succession planning, contribution & compensation, balancing the interests of on-farm and off-farm heirs; the importance of communication, setting goals, assessing feasibility, and balancing intergenerational expectations and needs; beginning farmer loan and tax credit programs; estate planning goals and issues (incapacity, taxes, asset protection, long term care, feasibility); forms of ownership; transfer tools (wills, titling, trusts); succession planning tools and examples (installment sales, lease and ownership options, preemptive rights, use of entities, buy-sell planning). 

Joe Hawbaker, Agricultural Law attorney, with Hawbaker Law Office, Omaha

Dave Goeller, Agricultural Finance and Transition Specialist

This workshop is made possible by the Nebraska Network for Beginning Farmers & Ranchers, the Farm and Ranch Project of Legal Aid of Nebraska, North Central Risk Management Education, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s Next Gen Program, UNL Extension – Panhandle area.  There will be a meal sponsored.

USDA Decides Not to Impose Additional Regulatory Requirements for Organic Producers and Handlers

Date:
Monday, March 12, 2018 – 11:45am
Contact Info:

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2018 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the decision to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule published on January 19, 2017. The rule would have increased federal regulation of livestock and poultry for certified organic producers and handlers. The withdrawal becomes effective May 13, 2018.

Significant policy and legal issues were identified after the rule published in January 2017. After careful review and two rounds of public comment, USDA has determined that the rule exceeds the Department’s statutory authority, and that the changes to the existing organic regulations could have a negative effect on voluntary participation in the National Organic Program, including real costs for producers and consumers.

“The existing robust organic livestock and poultry regulations are effective,” said USDA Marketing and Regulatory Program Undersecretary Greg Ibach. “The organic industry’s continued growth domestically and globally shows that consumers trust the current approach that balances consumer expectations and the needs of organic producers and handlers.”

According to USDA reports for 2017, the number of certified organic operations increased domestically by seven percent and globally by 11 percent. Industry estimates show that organic sales in the United States reached almost $47 billion in 2016, reflecting an increase of almost $3.7 billion since 2015.

The Department carefully considered public comments and the relative costs and benefits for both producers and consumers of imposing the proposed additional regulations.

More information on the OLPP final rule is available in the March 12, 2018, Federal Register, and on the USDA National Organic Program web page.

March 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:

March Clinic dates:

Grand Island – Thursday, March 1

Fairbury, Wednesday, March 7

North Platte – Thursday, March 8

Lexington – Thursday, March 15

Norfolk – Wednesday, March 21

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.

negotiationsLegal Aid of Nebraska

October 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!

October Clinic dates and locations:

Valentine – Wednesday, October 11th

Norfolk – Thursday, October 12th

Fairbury – Thursday, October 26th

Norfolk – Tuesday, October 31st

To register, please call the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.

March 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!

These FREE farm and ranch clinics are being held in:

March Clinics:

Norfolk clinic – Friday, March 3rd

Norfolk clinic – Thursday, March 16th

Fairbury clinic – Monday, March 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.

Farm mediation                  Legal Aid of Nebraska

Nebraska Agri-Tourism Limitation of Liability

Nebraska recently passed LB329, providing a bevy of benefits for those individuals involved with agri-tourism.  The bill exempts property owners from lawsuits for injury or death caused by an “inherent risk” on the property.  An inherent risk includes conditions, dangers, or hazards that are an integral part of the land or waters used for agri-tourism, the behavior of wild or domestic animals, the ordinary dangers of structures or equipment on the site, or the negligence of a paying participant.

The exemption does not apply if the property owner is negligent.  Additionally, the property must display signs with the exemption.

Covered activities at working farms and ranches include hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, water sports, camping, picnicking, hiking, backpacking, bicycling, horseback riding, nature study, birding, farm ranch and vineyard tours and activities, harvest-your-own activities, water skiing, snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, visiting and viewing historical, ecological, archaeological, scenic, or scientific sites, and similar activities.

LB329 is an interesting step towards limitation of liability for those interested in starting or expanding their agri-tourism operation.  If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us — we’re happy to help!

 

Nebraska DriftWatch 2015 Renewal Now Open

DriftWatch is an online map that shows specialty and pesticide sensitive crops for pesticide applicators.  For Nebraska producers and pesticide applicators, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture is the data steward.

What crops are eligible for inclusion on DriftWatch?  First, the crops must be commercial, meaning they are sold in some manner and not strictly for personal use.  Second, eligible crops are:

  • Grapes
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beehives
  • Greenhouse — high tunnel
  • Nursery Crops
  • Orchards
  • Fish Farms
  • Non-specialty certified organic
  • Other (plants grown for seed, cut flowers, flowers for scented products, woody florals, hops, and certain non-herbicide resistant crops)

Certified organic crops, including alfalfa, pasture, and native prairie, are considered eligible if they are part of a commercial operation.

DriftWatch does require annual renewal, which is currently open for 2015.  If you do not renew, your crop locations will not show on the map and pesticide applicators will not see your locations.

While DriftWatch is a voluntary program, it may be a program that is of use to you.  Look into it if you it is a ‘new-to-you’ program or renew if you are already a member and find it useful!

 

Grass Fed Small and Very Small Producer Program

Do you market 49 or less grass-fed cattle per year?  If so, you may be interested in the Grass Fed Program for Small and Very Small Producers.  The Program is a verification tool for producers to certify that animals meet the requirements of the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Grass (Forage) Fed Marketing Claim Standard.

The purpose of the Program is to allow small and very small producers a means to market their calves or market ready cattle as USDA Certified grass-fed.  The Agricultural Marketing Service will review the documentation and plan submitted by the producer and, if sufficient, will approve the producer and the cattle at that location as meeting the requirements of the Grass (Forage) Fed Marketing Claim Standard.

The Program is a less costly application process for small and very small producers.  The application costs $108.00 and certification is for a two-year period.  After certification, marketing as USDA Certified grass-fed beef is possible, along with the marketing advantages that come with the certification.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or leave a comment below!