Publications for Agri-Business
A general understanding of the litigation process can help relieve some of that anxiety. This article is a general outline of the litigation process in case you find yourself in a situation where you have been sued or you need to sue someone else.
Is it time for your first meeting with an estate planning attorney? We understand that the initial meeting with an estate planning attorney can be a stressful event.
Governor Whitmer announced two new Executive Orders today, Executive Order 2020-114 (“EO 2020-114”) and Executive Order 2020-115 (“EO 2020-115”). EO 2020-115 rescinds her prior orders for Regions 6 and 8 only, which encompass most the northern counties in the Lower Peninsula and the entirety of the Upper Peninsula. EO 2020-114 updates worker safeguards for business operations that will soon be allowed to reopen.
A record-setting wet spring, fluctuating commodity prices, tariffs, and rising input costs are just a few of the pressing challenges for farmers and ag-related businesses. While the federal and state governments are being supportive of Michigan farmers as they face during this difficult time, providing disaster relief, crop insurance flexibility and loan programs, the reality is that many farms and agribusinesses are facing money troubles beyond the relief offered by these programs.
However, in many cases coverage disputes between you and your insurance company can be avoided. Before problems arise, it helps to understand your coverage, your needs, and any obligations your policies impose on you
Estate planning is done to avoid family disputes, but despite the best of intentions, disputes happen when money is at stake.
Thanks to increased urbanization, livestock facilities and agribusiness operations are closer than ever to highways and population centers, heightening the risk of accidents. It is important to understand liabilities under Michigan law if livestock or farm animals escape.
In a previous article (The Case for Putting it in Writing), the case was stated for putting “spoken” agricultural contracts in writing. This time, the focus shifts to a particular type of contract: the land lease.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) could require you to follow certain regulations as to your hours-of-service, including the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule.
Drones have quickly become popular and their use has rapidly expanded throughout the U.S.
Looking to enhance business productivity and performance? This article addresses the best practices involved in holding great meetings.
Acquiring Michigan agricultural property involves a number of legal issues. One that should be addressed with an attorney is the effect of the acquisition on the qualified agricultural property exemption (“Ag Exemption”).
Tractors, trucks and other vehicles used by the farmers working their fields must, like all vehicles traveling on public roads, be registered and have some form of identification.
In 2017, the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) assessed $119,517,845 in penalties and settlements for violations of U.S. economic sanctions.
The Ag industry continues to face financial challenges. The potential of a bankruptcy notice remains ever present. Ignore a bankruptcy notice at your own peril.
Following fierce debate, extensive negotiations, and votes - then re-votes - in Congress, on December 20, 2017, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives approved the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Tax Reform”), and sent a final bill to President Trump for his signature.
We have written about the significant increase in the usage of drones for both recreational and commercial purposes.
Even as the rest of the world seems to require everything in writing, it remains an article of faith in farming communities throughout Michigan that business can still be conducted with a handshake.
No one enters into a contract expecting it to go sour, but sometimes they do. While it is not possible at the time of contracting to anticipate and avoid every potential risk, strategies exist to help minimize exposure and avoid costs down the road.
As of noon on February 10, 2017 spring weight restrictions are in effect and enforced on Michigan roads. The spring weight restrictions protect the roads as the ground begins to thaw and the surface of our roads becomes unstable.
Last year, the American Farm Bureau Federation conducted a survey of farmers with respect to Farm Data. The results of the survey revealed that many farmers are still uncertain about how their Farm Data is used and whether their data is protected. Fifty-five percent of farmers surveyed did not know whether the agreements they signed with agricultural technology providers (“ATPs”) addressed who owns collected data. Similarly, 59 percent of farmers did not know whether ATPs could use collected data to market products or services back to them.
Information technology is becoming increasingly important for agribusinesses looking to improve productivity, efficiency and effectiveness. From monitoring crops, to managing workforces, agribusinesses are adopting technological solutions to gather, analyze and use information to make decisions and optimize performance.
Citizens and visitors to Michigan have many opportunities to pursue recreational activities in natural settings. Thanks to the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (“NREPA”), the owners, tenants, and lessees of Michigan agricultural and farm properties enjoy certain protections from liability whenever members of the public come onto their land to engage in such activities.
As a general matter, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires that an employer pay an employee the federal minimum wage plus one-and-a-half times the employee’s standard pay rate for time worked over 40 hours in a work week. The Act also creates an “agricultural exemption” from this general rule.
This installment discusses bonus depreciation and other tax deductions specific to farms that are available in addition to Section 179.
This article is the first of a two-part series and discusses the deduction available under Code Section 179. Part 2 addresses ways the bonus depreciation rules and other farm-specific deductions can be paired with Section 179 for effective and powerful year-end tax planning.
On July 2, 2013, Governor Snyder signed key wetland legislation (S.B. 163) into law (Public Act 98 of 2013).
Public Act 317 was designed to control the spread of infectious diseases of livestock and animals in Michigan.
The Agricultural Guestworker Act, a bill to provide American farmers with a revised temporary guestworker program, was introduced into the House of Representatives in late April.
Featuring several remarks from her presentation at the National Conference on Equine Law, Fershtman discusses the topic of recoverability of attorney fees in equine litigation.
The term "Ag Exemption" is frequently used, yet because there are actually three separate and distinct types of tax-related "Ag Exemptions," they are often combined or confused in discussion.
Effective March 14, 2013, the FMCSA adopted a rule that expands an hours-of-service (HOS) exemption that has been in effect since 1995 for farm-related operations during the planting and harvesting season.
Immigration reform is a hot-button, important issue. Recently, both the Senate and House have introduced legislation regarding immigration and agriculture.
That 10,000-year-old industry, agriculture, is making a comeback in the State of Michigan, and the new Agricultural Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan (SBM) reflects its newly-regained star status.
The "Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year" application requests background information on the company and its products, the percentage growth of company exports, and the company's export destinations.
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan entered an order approving the sale of substantially all of the assets of Stamp Farms to Boersen Farms, Inc.
Michigan FFA continues to grow and help young people in the agricultural industry. Find out how you can help the future of agriculture.
Property owners have limited time to appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal if they are unsatisfied with the Board of Review’s decision. Make sure your presentation is effective by following these 5 easy tips.
On January 4, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its proposal of new food safety rules. The public may submit online or written comments on the proposed rules by May 16, 2013.
I-9 enforcement is not primarily concerned with locating illegal workers with the goal of deporting them. Instead, I-9 enforcement is heavily focused on Form I-9 itself, and the employer’s strict accuracy in completing the form and complying with related regulations in assembling its workforce.
The Michigan Legislature in late December passed clean corporate citizenship legislation which was signed by Lt. Governor Calley in early January for execution.
On December 20, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the publication of a final rule regarding animal disease traceability. This rule requires livestock moved interstate to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation.
Planning for the future of your ag business is critical. Advanced planning allows the family to transfer management and ownership how they want and to address legal, tax, and family relationship issues sooner rather than being forced to react after the death of a family member.
Through the Branded Program, qualified companies may obtain reimbursement for a percentage of their international marketing expenses for Michigan agriculture and food exports.
The Michigan Court of Appeals and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued decisions regarding Michigan’s Right to Farm Act.
Attorney Liza Moore sits down with the Oakland County Legal News to discuss the Agricultural Law Section.
In order to qualify for the agricultural use tax exemption, an entity claiming the exemption must satisfy two requirements. Read about the requirements here.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that four counties in Michigan were designated as primary natural disaster areas due to this summer’s drought.
On June 25, 2012, Governor Snyder announced the appointment of Jamie Clover Adams as the new Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director.
On June 26, 2012, Governor Snyder signed the Agricultural Disaster Loan Origination Program Act of 2012 into law. The law requires a one-time $15-million appropriation to cover some costs for banks that offer agricultural loans to farmers and processors affected by the severe weather this spring.
On July 2, 2012, the USDA announced the designation of 72 counties in Michigan as primary disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by severe weather in January 1 – May 11, 2012.
On July 15, 2012, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse began a tour of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana—states affected by spring severe frosts and freezes and now increasing drought. According to the USDA’s press release, the purpose of the visits is to "show support to farmers and ranchers affected by a string of extreme weather in 2012."
No two employers are exactly the same; neither are two employee handbooks. Every employer should understand and appreciate the value of having a handbook that is tailored to their business, as well as policies that reflect their current circumstances, as well as current law.
On June 6, 2012, the Michigan House Standing Committee on Agriculture approved HB 5717. Committee minutes show that representatives of Michigan Farm Bureau, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and many other producers, processors, and trade organizations spoke in favor of the bill.
On June 21, 2012, the U.S. Senate voted 64-35 to pass the Farm Bill, as amended. Earlier in the week, on June 18, 2012, the U.S. Senate had reached a unanimous-consent-time agreement providing that certain amendments would be considered beginning on June 19, 2012.
On April 11, 2012, the director of the MSU Product Center, Chris Peterson, announced that a MSU study on 2010 data showed that agriculture contributes around $91.4 billion to the Michigan economy.
On April 26, 2012, the proposed Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry by a vote of 16-5. The bill now awaits consideration on the Senate Floor.
On May 8, 2012, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Dave White announced a new National Water Quality Initiative.
Back in September 2, 2011 the DOL published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to revise child labor regulations in agriculture. Now the DOL has decided not to go forward with the hotly contested regulations.
The USDA designated 45 Michigan Counties as natural disaster areas for certain time periods in 2011. This designation makes qualified farm operators eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA's Farm Service Agency.
On February 16, 2012, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced that it was improving its Phytosanitary Certificate and Issuance Tracking System.
On March 5, 2012, Governor Rick Snyder announced the appointments to the Michigan Dairy Market Program Committee. This Committee develops and controls the dairy producer marketing program. This program promotes Michigan's $5.9 billion (annually) dairy industry.
More often than not these days, farmers are filing Chapter 11 or Chapter 12 bankruptcy cases. Generally Chapter 11 and 12 bankruptcies are reorganizational, which means the debtor (farmer) will file a plan and pay back creditors.
On February 1, 2012, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry announced the schedule of several hearings for the Farm Bill.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is accepting applications for the Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year Award.
Every provision of an oil and gas lease is negotiable, including the royalty to be paid to the landowner in the event of a successful well. If, however, we are successful in negotiating for a one-sixth royalty (which is the same royalty required on all leases with the State of Michigan) what difference would this small change make to a typical landowner?
On January 9, 2012, the USDA announced a "Blueprint for Stronger Service" aimed at streamlining the USDA. According to the news release, the USDA will close 259 domestic offices, facilities and labs across the country.
Selling property by land contract is often a viable option where conventional financing is not available. However, there can be risks associated with a land contract that are completely unrelated to the financial considerations.
The use of hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas exploration has recently generated significant public debate.
The last few years have witnessed significant increases in workforce audits and raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") at all levels. Therefore, while proper I-9 compliance has always been important, it has never been more essential.
The current national focus on developing alternative sources of energy has resulted in a dramatic increase in efforts to obtain leases and/or easements for the development of wind farms.
Most oil and gas leases proposed by oil companies provide for long primary terms and options that can double the primary term of a lease. The primary term is the initial period during which a well may be drilled.
In most instances absent an agreement with its secured creditors, the debtor will petition the court for permission to use cash collateral at the same time it files for bankruptcy.
On September 14, 2011, USDA APHIS announced that it would amend the boundaries of the bovine tuberculosis risk classification zones for Michigan.
On September 2, 2011, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to revise child labor regulations in agriculture.
On October 14, 2011, leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees sent a letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (better known as the "Supercommittee") recommending a $23 billion cut to mandatory spending within the committees’ jurisdiction.
On November 10, 2011, the USDA announced that the Calhoun Conservation District was one of the 10 recipients of the USDA’s People’s Garden Grant Program.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson - "Based on my consideration of the scientific record, analysis provided by EPA scientists, and advice from the Clean Air Science Advisory Council, I am prepared to propose the retention--with no revision--of the current PM10 standard and form when it is sent to OMB for interagency review."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service prepared a study showing that farmers using combinations of erosion-control and nutrient-management practices on cultivated cropland are reducing the movement of sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus from farm fields to the Great Lakes.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the grant recipients for fiscal year 2011 for the Farmers Market Promotion Program.
Green Meadow Farms, Inc. and Scenic View Dairy, LLC in Michigan both received funding for anaerobic digesters from the USDA’s Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels Program.
On October 11, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service produced a draft Environmental Impact Statement considering alternatives in response to Monsanto/KWS SAAT AG request for a determination of non-regulated status of its event H7-1 sugar beets.
From commodity prices to the weather, uncertainty is a fact of life in agriculture. There is one essential factor for long term success, however, that a family farm can control – careful estate and succession planning.
Imagine the shock of returning to your farm from out of town only to learn that your prize bull became ill and died soon after you left.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development announced that the Michigan Wheat Program was approved by wheat producers.
To be protected by the Michigan Right to Farm Act, farm operations must conform to GAAMPs.
The Michigan USDA Farm Service Agency recently posted a reminder about the Agriculture Foreign Investment Disclosure Act.
In the last few years, immigration reforms and increased enforcement have been the topics of extensive debate.
Entering into contracts is an important part of every agribusiness. No one enters into a contract expecting it to go sour but sometimes they do...
The tumultuous world economic and political climate has had a profound effect on oil and gas exploration activities in Michigan.
Did you know that the Michigan Department of Agriculture and the Food Export Association of the Midwest offer a 50 percent cost reimbursement on certain pre-approved eligible international marketing and promotional activities for Michigan small to medium sized businesses?
Succession planning is the process of formally transitioning management and ownership of an agricultural business from one generation to the next.
More than $8 million in disaster assistance will be issued to livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers that suffered losses in 2010 because of disease, adverse weather, or other conditions.
On April 27, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued draft guidance for the Clean Water Act.
Increased urbanization puts livestock farms closer than ever to highways and population centers, heightening the risk of accidents and resulting liabilities.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development authorized a referendum to establish a Michigan Wheat Program, to be conducted June 20, 2011 through July 1, 2011.
The Michigan Court of Appeals upholds Administrative Rule 2196 issued by Department of Environmental Quality.
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacates portions of the EPA’s 2008 Rule that required Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations that propose to discharge to apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, and the provisions imposing liability for failure to apply for a permit.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced that funding is available for certified organic producers and those transitioning to organic production to implement resource conservation practices.
135 projects in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Western Pacific will be financed through $234 million in USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program loans and grants.
Authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, BCAP provides incentives to eligible farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners for producing biomass corps for heat, power, bio-based products and biofuels.
Under the H-2A program, agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers can petition the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to bring foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that $15 million is available to United States asparagus producers.
General sign-up 41 for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) began on March 14, 2011 and will end on April 15, 2011.
On March 3, 2011, the Dairy Industry Advisory Committee voted to approve a final report to submit to Secretary Vilsack.
Governor Rick Snyder’s first bill signings turned the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) into law.
The Michigan "Animal Running at Large" Act imposes absolute or strict liability on the "owner" of cattle, horses, sheep, swine, mules, burros, or goats that trespass onto the property of another and cause property damage.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has proposed a replacement for the largely unpopular and complex Michigan Business Tax.
Governor Rick Snyder’s proposed budget for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 includes cuts to Michigan agriculture programs.