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.

Free Workshop April 25 in Chadron

You are welcome to attend a free workshop on Ag Liens, Loans, and Leases.   The workshop will be held in Chadron, April 25th at Chadron State College Student Center, Scottsbluff Room.  A light dinner will be provided.  The workshop runs from 4:30 pm am to 8:30 pm.  There is no charge for the workshop.  To register (and for questions) call the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.

What the workshop is about?  Liens (Hawbaker) – Nebraska’s statutory agricultural liens, from the producer’s perspective:  What are they?  How do they work? These are liens that give creditors rights in certain property, such as crops, feed and livestock, to secure payment of obligations for goods or services, such as seed, fertilizer, ag chemicals, petroleum products, veterinary assistance, cattle care, harvest work and machine repair.  The discussion will focus on identifying the liens and understanding how they work from the producer’s perspective.

Loans (Goeller) – The presentation will provide producers with an inside look at “What your lender is looking for.”  The impact of Collateral, Cash Flow, Credit Score, Character and Trends on loan applications.  A brief overview of Balance Sheets, Trend Sheets and Ratio Analysis will also be included.

Leases (Goeller) – The importance of lease communications between the landlord and tenant and useful lease provisions will be discussed, along with highlights of current lease rates and trends in Nebraska.

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

Dave Goeller, Agricultural Finance and Transition Specialist

This workshop is made possible by the North Central Risk Management Education, Nebraska Network for Beginning Farmers & Ranchers, the Farm and Ranch Project of Legal Aid of Nebraska, , National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s Next Gen, Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation, UNL Extension – Panhandle area, and Chadron State College.  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.

Free Estate & Succession Planning Ag Liens and Loans Workshop

You are welcome to attend a free workshop on Succession & Estate Planning (morning sessions) and Ag Liens & Loans (afternoon sessions).   The workshop will be held in Loup City on March 29, 2018 at the Community Center. Lunch will be provided.  The workshop runs from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm.  There is no charge for the workshop.  To register (and for questions) call the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.

What the workshop is about?  Estate & Succession Planning (Hawbaker & Goeller) The workshop is about farm and ranch business succession and estate 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,  and assessing feasibility; beginning farmer loan and tax credit programs; estate planning issues and tools, including incapacity planning, taxes, co-ownership, direct and indirect ownership; legal tools for balancing the interests of on-farm and off-farm heirs; asset protection; use of entities; and examples of planning.

Liens (Hawbaker) – Nebraska’s statutory agricultural liens, from the producer’s perspective:  What are they?  How do they work? These are liens that give creditors rights in certain property, such as crops, feed and livestock, to secure payment of obligations for goods or services, such as seed, fertilizer, ag chemicals, petroleum products, veterinary assistance, cattle care, harvest work and machine repair.  The discussion will focus on identifying the liens and understanding how they work from the producer’s perspective.

Loans (Goeller) – The presentation will provide producers with an inside look at “What your lender is looking for.”  The impact of Collateral, Cash Flow, Credit Score, Character and Trends on loan applications.  A brief overview of Balance Sheets, Trend Sheets and Ratio Analysis will also be included.

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

Dave Goeller, Agricultural Finance and Transition Specialist

This workshop is made possible by the North Central Risk Management Education, Nebraska Network for Beginning Farmers & Ranchers, the Farm and Ranch Project of Legal Aid of Nebraska, , National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s Next Gen, Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation, and Nebraska Extension in Central IV.

“A Visit to Slow Foods Nation, Denver 2017” Webinar available through SARE

A webinar is scheduled for Friday, March 16th at 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. as part of the Nebraska SARE Webinar Series. The webinar title is, “A Visit to Slow Foods Nation, Denver 2017”. This past summer Jerry and Renee Cornett of Prairie Plate Restaurant near Waverly, NE received a SARE Travel Scholarship to participate in this event. This event focuses on a number of food issues and there are several opportunities to participate in different discussions and programs. More than 10,000 chefs, policymakers, farmers and food lovers from all over the world will be talking about food justice, sustainability and management. There was discussion over agricultural issues and all kinds of food were there as well. Jerry and Renee will talk about their experience at this event during the webinar. The link to the webinar is:  https://unl.zoom.us/j/193166489. This webinar will be recorded if you are unable to participate at this time.  If you have questions, contact Gary Lesoing at (402) 274-4755.

Michelle Soll of the Farm and Ranch Program spoke at the Women in Ag Conference about available assistance

Michelle-SollThis past weekend, Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Michelle Soll from the Farm and Ranch Project, spoke at the Women in Ag conference in Kearney, NE. She spoke to the attendees over Saturday brunch, highlighting the struggles she is witnessing with her work. While there, she was interviewed by the Kearney Hub about the importance of her work with the Rural Response Hotline and the Farm and Ranch Program. Find the article titled, Michelle Soll there to provide assistance, advice for Nebraska Rural Response Hotline, here.

If you need assistance or would like more information, please call the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.

 

Legal Aid in Lincoln Suffers Devastating Fire

Legal Aid of Nebraska suffered a devastating fire yesterday morning in its Lincoln office on the 8th floor of the Terminal Building at 10th and O Streets.  The fire caused considerable fire, smoke, and water damage, and staff are currently evaluating its extent.  It is not expected, however, that Legal Aid will be able to work out of this space for a significant period of time.

Legal Aid’s staff and leadership are grateful the building was empty at the time of the fire, and offer their appreciation to Lincoln’s firefighters and support to the firefighter who was injured in fighting the blaze. 

 Legal Aid has a history of over 35 years at the Terminal Building location, serving thousands of low-income Lincoln residents.  With over a dozen attorneys and other legal and support staff, Legal Aid in Lincoln provides free high quality civil legal services to low-income children, families, and individuals facing family, housing, income/benefits, and debt problems.  The Lincoln office includes an “Access to Justice (A2J) Center,” where hundreds of low-income individuals each year receive direct assistance on how to help themselves with common legal issues including simple divorces, evictions, and debtor protections.  The Lincoln office is also home to the Juvenile Justice Project, which serves over 600 low-income children and families as clients in Lancaster County courts, and other Legal Aid statewide initiatives, such as the Farm and Ranch Program, Disaster Relief Project, and the Ag Worker Rights Program. 

 We know this fire will directly affect our low-income clients, and our primary attention is on how we can best serve them over the next days and weeks,” said Pat Carraher, Managing Attorney in the Lincoln office.  “Getting a temporary space arranged and making contacts with our clients is our highest priority. Fortunately, Legal Aid is very tech-savvy and cloud-based, but there will be many delays and complications ahead, including easily accessing client information and court preparation.” 

 Legal Aid has some of the best legal staff in the state, especially here in Lincoln, and I know we’ll get through this disaster with great tenacity,” said Milo Mumgaard, Executive Director of Legal Aid. “Every day, we see our clients struggle through some of the toughest challenges imaginable.  Here at Legal Aid, we know we will get our services back up in great shape very quickly after this fire, because we know how badly needed they are.  We want to thank all of our friends and supporters who have reached out to us with offers of help.” 

 Legal Aid had announced in January that it was renovating its present full-floor Terminal Building space into a state-of-the-art A2J Center, with more room for clients, volunteers, and pro bono counsel, along with improved office space for its expanding professional and legal staff, to meet the growing demand for its services.  Renovations, though, had not yet begun. 

 Announcements about new temporary space and client services will be made within a couple days. Existing clients and other individuals in need of legal assistance can find out more at Legal Aid’s website, www.legalaidofnebraska.org, or through the Legal Aid AccessLine, 1-877-250-2016. 

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

Assistance Available to Agricultural Producers through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

LINCOLN, Jan. 19, 2018 – Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps private landowners build their business while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their entire operation. NRCS plans to enroll up to 10 million acres in CSP in 2018.

While applications for CSP are accepted year round, applications must be received by March 2, 2018, to be considered for this funding period.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like nutrient and pest management, cover crops and tree plantings– all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land. CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.

Some of these benefits of CSP include:

  • Improved cattle gains per acre;
  • Increased crop yields;
  • Decreased inputs;
  • Wildlife population improvements; and
  • Better resilience to weather extremes.

NRCS recently made several updates to the program to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives. These tools also enable producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.

Producers interested in CSP are recommended to contact their local USDA service center or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted.

2018 Nebraska Cover Crop Conference February 15th

Coming up on Thursday, February 15th is the 2018 Nebraska Cover Crop Conference held at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Development Center near Mead, NE. It will take place in the August N. Christenson building. It is provided by Nebraska Extension, a program within the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It runs from 9:00-3:30 p.m.

About: This event is geared specifically towards producers of corn and soybeans, and it provides useful information about the benefits of utilizing cover crops.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. the day of the event, but in order to ensure resources and meal planning is accurate, those who wish are able to pre-register by February 9th by calling (402)-624-8030 or sending an email to cdunbar2@unl.edu

Speakers and Presentations: This year Extension offers several informative guest speakers and presentations to answer any questions about cover crops. The presentations are:

The Banker Won’t Like Wheat, but Your Soil Will–Here’s Why!

Nathan Mueller, Nebraska Extension Educator

Will Cover Crops be a New Home for Insects?

–Justin McMechan, Nebraska Extension Entomologist

Cover Crops for Ephemeral Gully Control

–Dan Gillespie, No-Till Specialist, NRCS

How Cover Crops Work on My Farm

–Bill Nielsen, Minden, NE

Why I Encourage My Customers to Use Cover Crops

–Lee Briese, Independent Crop Consultant, Recipient of the 2016 International Certified Crop Advisor of the Year Award, Edgley, ND

Why I Use Cover Crops on My Farm

–Kelly Tobin, Corn/Soybean Grower, New Castle, IA

Cover Crops for Corn and Soybean Producers

–Keith Berns, Green Cover Seed, Bladen, NE

Farmer Panel

–Discussion with Growers, Landowners, and Consultants

More information including a downloadable flyer and a link for maps and directions can be found here at: https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/enre/nebraska-cover-crop-conference/