Law for Food L.L.P.Rural Vermont | Giving Voice to Vermont’s Small Farm Heritage

Partner to host a lecture series on Legal Topics of Interest to Farmers and Food Businesses

February 2011 – April 2011, 2nd Monday of each month, 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Presented by Attorneys Kenneth Miller & Adam Prizio
45 minute presentation followed by 15 minutes Q&A
at Green Mountain Girls, 923 Loop Rd., NORTHFIELD
$5-$10 sliding scale (to defray expenses); none turned away for lack of funds

Financing Food, Getting Started and Staying in the Game

You need financial backing to build or expand your farm or food business, but you have questions. What sorts of financing are available? Will you have to give up control of your business? How will you work with a silent partner? How can you raise the money without getting on the wrong side of securities laws? This class will discuss how to establish and grow your business, finding the appropriate legal structure to limit liability, attracting traditional investments as well as alternatives, such as philanthropic investors, community-supported agriculture and business agreements, and others ways to grow your business. This class will also discuss advantages to planning ahead and using financial instruments, such as income statements and balance sheets – simple strategies that go a long way.

Land I: Leasing and using the land
This two-part class will cover topics relating to agricultural land. Part 1 will discuss leasing farmland from others, and zoning and land use issues. We will go over the essential terms that should be part of a farmland lease; how leasing can affect your tax obligations; how landowners can compensate tenant farmers for improvements in soil productivity; and other topics. We will also talk about right-to-farm laws; what you should do when someone calls your farm a public nuisance; and how to handle zoning disputes. Act 250 will play a major role in this discussion, including the status of current use and the revised compost regulations.

Land II: Keeping the land in the family business.
This two-part class will cover topics relating to agricultural land. Part 2 will cover farm transfer planning, land trusts, and agricultural estates. We will discuss the provisions and mechanics of a farmland transfer, including the reservation of rights to income or to live on the land; what should go in a purchase-and-sale agreement; and how conservation easements can help farmland transfers to take place at affordable prices. We will also cover the ways that older farmers can transfer their farms to the next generation as seamlessly as possible, and while minimizing their estate tax, by use of land trusts and agricultural estates.

The Ins and Outs of Starting and Maintaining a Successful Food-focused Business
This class marks our final class of our debut series. As such, it will encompass some of our earlier discussions. We will walk you through the beginning stages of the business and toward the successful operation of the business. We discuss legal structures, financing the business, marketing the business, as well as cover basic Vermont sales and marketing law, highlighting laws and regulations governing direct marketing and on-farm sales, and the exemptions that apply. The marketing aspect of this presentation will discuss available social media to help you connect to customers and other businesses. Facebook and twitter are effective ways to create awareness and excitement about your products, and to manage customer expectations about product availability.

For more info, contact Kenneth Miller at (802) 299-7532 or Rural Vermont at (802) 223-7222.

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