PA 116 Farmland Preservation: Considerations for the General Practitioner

    By D. Raghav Shan

    The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) oversees the administration of the Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program. The Farmland Development Rights Agreement (commonly known as PA 116), is a reciprocal negative easement that puts a “temporary restriction on the land between the State and a landowner, voluntarily entered into by a landowner, preserving their land for agriculture in exchange for certain tax benefits and exemptions for various special assessments.” Read Article

What Do Family Farms and Family Cottages Have in Common?

    By Sally D. Babbit

    Michiganders (or Michiganians if you prefer) are fortunate to be surrounded by two splendors of nature—lots of lakes and lots of farms. Michigan has over 11,000 inland lakes, and agriculture is the second leading industry in the state. The result is an abundance of cottages and miles upon miles of farms. So what do these cottages and farms have in common? Several things. Read Article

Bankruptcy Issues Affect Agricultural Businesses in a Unique Way

    Thank you to Tom Budzynski for submitting this interesting opinion from the Bankruptcy courts involving the sale and payments (or non-payments rather) of produce. Read the Opinion

Should I Be Concerned About 'Basis'?

    By Sally D. Babbit

    Now that the federal estate tax and gift tax equivalent has been “permanently” increased to $5.43 million per individual ($10.86 million for a married couple) for decedents dying in 2015, and the top tax rate is 40% rather than the previous maximum rates reaching 55%, many of the complex A/B Trust and Reduce to Zero estate plans previously implemented can be simplified, and new plans can be prepared without all the focus on minimizing transfer taxes. But does that mean all the tax planning issues have been resolved? Not by any means. Read Article

Home-Grown Food Business: Cottage Food Law and Michigan Summer Produce

    By Kelly Jex

    We can all picture warm summer mornings. The sun is shining; the birds are singing. This is also a time of growth, gardens, and fresh foods. For many, the summer months are also a time to grow their bottom lines. Home gardens and kitchen-baked bread, fresh-picked fruits, jams, honey and more can be turned into profit at local farmer’s markets, road-side food stands, and other forms of direct sale to hungry customers eager to taste the wholesomeness of summer. Read Article

Angles To Cover If Considering An Agritainment Alternative

    By Sean Fraser & Sarah Harwood

    So, you want to expand your business and are considering opening a wine-tasting room, U-pick business, corn maize, or petting zoo. As exciting as opening a new business is, inviting the public onto your property has added risks and liabilities. Read Article

Student Agricultural Law Symposium 2016

Student Agricultural Law Symposium 2014

2014 Farm Bill

    By Kristiana Coutu

    The most recent farm bill, formally known as the Agricultural Act of 2014, has been several years in the making. When I decided to write this article, my idea was to articulate how the 2014 farm bill impacts Michigan agriculture. As I dug into the almost 1,000 pages of legislation, and poured over the more than 450 provisions relating to the various agricultural sectors, I was reminded of the vast diversity of Michigan's agricultural landscape in that virtually every provision of the Agricultural Act of 2014 impacts Michigan agriculture in some way. So, I adjusted the scope of my article and decided to touch on a few of the important provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill and provide links to resources that provide more detail. Read Article

Critical Cases to Watch: Township of Richmond v. Rondigo, LLC

    By Sally D. Babbitt

    While all of us enjoy our work and have a passion for the areas in which we practice, the fact is that we need to pay the bills. The Rondigo case is not only an important case in protecting our ability to be paid for our services, but even more important in protecting farmers from nuisance cases that they usually could not afford to defend. Read Article