Legal concerns around farm workers and employees

CN-MR-1-LEGAL CONCERNSby Sanne Kure-Jensen

Rachel Armstrong led an informative webinar on the legal considerations regarding unpaid and compensated volunteers. “Ag. law is incredibly complex,” said Rachel Armstrong, lawyer and former grower. Farmers should carefully distinguish between a volunteer and employee. A volunteer must not displace a regularly paid employee doing similar work. The largest volunteer risk is injury. Volunteers often arrive unskilled or untrained in specific farm activities and may not use the same caution as experienced farmers. Armstrong recognizes that consumers everywhere value their connection to the land, wanting to reconnect with the land and with farmers who grow their food. Many farm customers happily volunteer for their favorite farmer. Farmers must manage risks in all aspects of farming. Risk of injury, liability or employment law violations is serious. Accident prevention keeps everyone safe. Armstrong recommended all farmers purchase a Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy for interns, employees, seasonal employees and other farm guests who volunteer for compensation. A commercial policy also ensures coverage for off-farm activities (CSA drop sites) value-added processing, agritoursim, transportation to markets and for distribution, if you sell anyone else’s products. Armstrong also recommends a Farm Liability Insurance (like homeowner’s liability policy). This protects the landowner in case of an accident on the farm property. This is separate from a CGL. Shop around and describe all aspects of your business to potential insurance agents. [Read more…]

Soybean hay a warm-season forage option

CM-MR-1-SOYBEAN-HAY-17by Karl H. Kazaks

With the spring growing season finally upon us, it’s time to consider warm-season forage crops. Forage soybeans are one option to consider. In the early part of the last century, soybeans were grown primarily for forage. Today, of course, they are grown mainly for the oil and protein value of their seed. But soybeans, high in protein and highly palatable, can be harvested for hay or silage. You can use seed varieties of soybeans as forage but you need to consider that some herbicides approved for use in soybeans as a seed crop are not allowed for soybeans as a forage crop. If you’re starting out planting soybeans as forage it makes sense to consider one of the many forage soybeans available on the market due to their greater yield potential. [Read more…]

The blue dye doesn’t lie

CM-MR-1-BLUE DYE1by Bill and Mary Weaver

“We have to manage soil nutrients and irrigation together, because the two are intertwined,” stated Dr. George Hochmuth, Professor at the University of Florida, whose research focuses on developing Best Management Practices for plant nutrient use to protect water quality. “A grower can do a visual demonstration of this simply by injecting blue dye into his irrigation system along one row. Turn on the irrigation and watch where the dye goes.” [Read more…]

Stepping Back

CEWM-MR-2-PA-REDDING_0369by Steve Wagner

The Honorable Russell Redding, PA Secretary of Agriculture was officially welcomed at the PA FFA Association 28th State Legislative Breakfast where he was the keynote speaker. His appearance at this gathering afforded Redding the opportunity to meet and greet lawmakers and farm association leaders, as well as executive vice presidents, many of whom he has worked with before. Five years ago, Redding served for a year as Ag Sec, filling out the term of Secretary Dennis Wolff, who wanted to return to farming and international agricultural genetics. After that year of service, Redding became Dean of Agriculture at Delaware Valley College. “The best thing was stepping back from the department, being tested by students on what it is that this industry can offer, where there are opportunities and bring that back,” he said, adding “It gave me a fresh perspective to look at the job as Secretary and the industry that I am so honored to represent.” [Read more…]