Does your farm have the right legal structures in place to protect your livelihood and to keep your farm thriving?

We’re joined on the show today by Rachel Armstrong, Founder and Executive Director of Farm Commons located in Duluth, Minnesota. Farm Commons’ mission is to empower agricultural communities to resolve their own legal vulnerabilities, within an ecosystem of support. A single legal vulnerability can make or break a farm. But farmers, ranchers, and agriculture communities already have their hands full taking on behemoths like monopolistic agribusiness companies. Farms today are getting squeezed by overwhelming social and economic forces. They need shared tools for legal resilience. Learn how Rachel and her team can provide legal resilience for you and your farm!

In This Episode:

What motivated Rachel to establish Farm Commons 1:03

What blanket farm personal property is 11:25

Why it’s good to have a solid lease agreement in place 15:39

What legal structures farmers should have in place 23:32

What the rules are surrounding volunteers 27:36

What Rachel recommends for farms offering worker perks such as room and board 32:58

What advice Rachel has for farmers just getting started 37:35

About the Guest:

Rachel Armstrong is the founder and Executive Director of Farm Commons, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering farmers to resolve their own legal vulnerabilities within an ecosystem of support. After a childhood and early career in agriculture showed her the vast need for legal education, Rachel went to law school with the exclusive purpose of creating an organization to address that need. Her game-changing vision for how farmers experience business law has been awarded a 2012 Echoing Green Global Fellowship and a 2018 Ashoka Fellowship. As leading authority on direct-to-consumer farm law she has authored dozens of publications and leads workshops nationwide. Rachel instructs continuing legal education classes for the American Bar Association, teaches farm law for the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and is a co-author of “Farmers’ Guide to Business Structures,” published by USDA SARE. She lives in Northern Minnesota with her husband and 3 children, not far from the old farm where she grew up.

Resources and mentions

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And if you want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Facebook Group to connect with us and other farmers looking to grow their business!

We also have six free eguides to help you be more effective on your farm (Winter Growing, Pastured Poultry, Washing Shed Efficiency, Profitable Farmers Toolkit, What to Look for in a Farm Property, etc), which you can download here.