Posts

Image
Free National Farm Seminar "Strengthening and Sustaining Farms and Farmers"
Join us for a free seminar featuring a dynamic group of local and nationally recognized individuals discussing the path farmers need to be on so as to strengthen their operations and also themselves.
When:   February 5, 2020 Where:   Ivy Tech Community Campus, Logansport, Indiana.



          On February 5, 2020, at 5:00 pm, there will be a seminar in Logansport, Indiana, at the Ivy Tech Community Room, located at: 1 Ivy Tech Way, Logansport, IN 46947.Our seminar will focus on ways to strengthen your farm and yourself.We have been blessed with being able to bring in a strong lineup of speakers from across the County.             For many farmers, times are still very tough in agriculture.The down economic conditions continue to persist with some saying such will continue for quite some time.For many farms, survival will not come down to growing the most bushels.Rather, survival will come down to being b…

The Doctrine of Adverse Possession: Gaining or losing land by conquest.

Image
Last month we covered the Doctrine of Title by Acquiescence.The law of acquiescence pertains to adjoining property owners who are either mistaken where the line between properties are, or agree that a fence or barrier that is not on the legal boundary line is to be considered the legal boundary line.So, under the law of acquiescence, land can be gained or lost by mistake or by agreement.
Another doctrine where land can be gained or lost is the Doctrine of Adverse Possession, sometimes referred to as “squatter’s rights”.Adverse Possession occurs where a person in possession of land owned by someone else may acquire valid title to it, so long as certain requirements are met.It arises from English common law, where land in England was continuously changing hands not via purchases, but conquest, pillage, theft, etc.The theory was that if you could show you possessed land long enough, your title to the land would not be questioned.
When our country was founded, although there was less conq…

The Doctrine of Title by Acquiescence: Losing Land by Agreement or Consent.

Image
            Rarely does a person agree or consent to lose part of their land.However, such can happen in cases where a fence between neighbors turns out to not be on the legal boundary line.The norm is that a fence between neighbors is erected on the legal boundary line between the two adjacent properties.However, sometimes landowners have a mistaken belief that the fence marks the legal boundary line between two properties when it actually does not.Other times the adjacent landowners agree to treat an existing fence not on the legally boundary line as the legal boundary line.No matter the various circumstances, a fence that is believed to mark the legal boundary line, and turns out to not be the case, usually leads to a dispute at some point.
How does the law generally treat these instances where an individual is acquiescent to a boundary fence not being on the legal boundary line?Enter the Doctrine of Title by Acquiescence.Essentially, this doctrine determines the legal boundary lin…

The Chapter 12 “Cramdown”: Leveling the Lender's Playing Field.

Image
This past week Congress was actually able to agree on something and the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 was passed.  The Act serves to raise the current debt limit for Chapter 12 from 4.2 million to 10 million.  Some have bemoaned this as only helping “big farms’, whatever that is, but in an era where a combine can approach a half million dollars, many smaller or medium sized farms found themselves up against the previous debt limit.   Without the ability to utilize Chapter 12, instead of restructuring, the famer is generally liquidating.             In helping many farm clients over the past year who have been experiencing financial difficulties, I am simply amazed at the inability of some lending institutions to work with the farmer who is experiencing financial difficulties.  Don’t get me wrong, some lenders have been very good to work with and are open to forbearance agreements, debt reconstruction, and other measures that keep the farmer able to continue on.  On the flip side, s…

Heed the canary in your farm’s financial coal mine

Image
(Authors Note:This article will be a multi part series that discusses some of the challenges we are seeing due to the current farm economy and offers some thoughts and suggestions on action that can be taken.) Most of us know where the saying “canary in the coal mine” comes from.Basically, canaries were used in mines from the late 1800s to detect gases, such as carbon monoxide. The gas is deadly to humans – and canaries alike – in large quantities, but canaries are much more sensitive to small amounts of the gas, and so will react more quickly than humans. I always envisioned that a miner would stick a canary in a bird cage down in the mine, and if they saw the canary drop over dead, then it was time to get out.Boy was I wrong.A device was actually invented (see above picture) that had a circular door that would be kept open and had a grill to prevent the canary escaping. Once the canary showed signs of carbon monoxide poisoning the door would be closed and a valve opened, allowing oxyg…

Observations on Ways to Make Farm Profitable for the Next Generation

Image
In last month’s article we discussed whether or not the next generation can afford to take over the farming operation.I received a lot of feedback on the article and one response stuck with me.The question was posed, if the farm is not making ends meet now, how can it then be profitable to the next generation, especially being profitable enough for to bring in the next generation? It was a very good question and had me thinking on a response for quite some time.I will first lay out a disclaimer (we attorneys are good at doing such) and say that I am not a farm economist.Nor am I versed in financial advising.In addition, not every farm is going to be helped by what I write in this article, nor is what I write about a good fit for everyone.I am merely going of off 14 years of law experience and having worked with hundreds and hundreds of farmers running just about every type of farm operation there is.Here goes:
1.Farm Structure:The sooner a famer can structure their farm as a legal enti…