NewsJanuary 12, 2021

Launching March 1st: The Brand New Farm Commons!

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A long time ago, I walked into the kitchen of my childhood home and announced to my mom, “I’m going to be a farmer when I grow up!” She quickly shot back, “Oh no you aren’t!” I didn’t realize it at the time, but she was speaking of things kept hidden from her children: the stress and the difficulty of a farming lifestyle. My belief in the eminence of agriculture was unshaken, but my mother planted a seed in me. That seed has taken root as my life’s work: to build an agricultural community with a strength, resilience, and interconnectedness that honors our shared humanity.

 

Today, I reflect back on how I founded Farm Commons almost 8 years ago with the sole mission of empowering farmers to resolve their own legal vulnerabilities, within a community of support. Between climate change, a pandemic, shifting consumer habits, unpredictable trade dynamics, and the mounting stress of operating on ever slimmer margins…. never has farm and ranch resilience been so important. Or so hard to find.

Just as I’m incredibly proud of what Farm Commons has provided in terms of guides, model documents, instruction, and workshops, we need more from this organization. Producers have been asking us for online workshops, more state-specific employment law information and stronger dialogue with farming peers about legal solutions that fit their operation and their values. Not only does our agricultural community need those workshops, guides, and dialogue, we deserve these things. Our entire agricultural community deserves the means to manage risk effectively, in a way that’s consistent with our values.

We can create that world of enriching dialogue, shared resources, and pracitical solutions that create resilience! But, a short term fix isn’t good enough. Let’s go all the way and build a new model for farm law in America! To get there, Farm Commons shares a need to develop our own resilience. We can promise to be with you for the long haul when we create more diversified revenue and foster strong lines of accountability between us and those we serve.

In March, we will take a huge leap forward in growing a more resilient agricultural community. Here’s how.

 

What’s New?

Online, Interactive Farm Law Workshops - Accessible to Anyone, Anywhere:

We are launching a series of online workshops that empower our entire community to enact the core principles of legal resilience in their own communities.

  • For Farmers and Ranchers, “Discovering Resilience” builds capacity to implement the 10 legal best practices for beginning and long-standing farms alike in a highly interactive workshop that centers on peer learning and skills building.
  • Our workshop for Farm Service Providers and Professionals, “Guiding Resilience” focuses on how to help farmers and ranchers implement essential legal resilience in their operations, whether you’re based in Extension, lending, education, insurance, or another sector.
  • Legal Professionals will learn how to better serve our unique community through our “Sustainable Farm Law for Legal Professionals” CLE course that provides practice tips alongside legal details.

A Social Platform That’s Just for the Agricultural Community

Very often, the best solution to a problem doesn’t come from a guide. It comes from one’s peers. That’s why we’re launching our custom social media platform — The Community Commons —  to help you ask questions, contribute answers, find feedback, get creative solutions, and stay motivated within a custom, secure, and private platform (not Facebook!).  The Community Commons empowers creative problem-solving and discussion, with our legal professionals at the ready to guide conversation where needed. We are eager to celebrate your accomplishments and see you share your hard-won wisdom.

Expanded Webinars and Forums on Timely Topics

The law changes fast, sometimes. Depend on us for clear, straightforward, and action-oriented webinars every month on legal topics that affect you. Because our farmers and ranchers are the best source of solutions, a series of forums brings producers together around their experiences resolving specific legal vulnerabilities. Whether you want to absorb information from our experts or plot your own resolution with peers, we have you covered.

50 State-Specific Resources on Important Employment Law Subjects

You’ve turned to us for information on farm employment law that’s hard to find anywhere else. We’re excited to give you details on the essentials of minimum wage, overtime, and more in easy-to-understand snapshots for every state. No matter where you’re based, you can get the employment law answers you need most.

 

A Membership Structure for the Whole Agricultural Community

One thing about Farm Commons will never change: farmers and ranchers are at the heart of everything we do. Although we’re adding new ways to connect, the plain language, approachable, and down-to-earth legal education we’ve always developed remains at our core. You will still find the same trusty team in our office, ready to make farm law work in your community. The difference is that now we have more and better ways to connect with a growing agricultural community. We are stepping together into a stronger, better future for everyone with a stake in agricultural law.

We can’t take this step alone. We need our community to join us as members, dedicated to the common purpose of creating our own legal resilience. By joining Farm Commons, the entire agricultural community — farmers, ranchers, agricultural professionals, and legal professionals — will have access to our in-depth guides and sample documents, our workshops, and a community where you can ask questions and get feedback.

Producer Membership

Farmers and ranchers will have the opportunity to join at a special Early Bird rate of just $49 for their first year. After the Early Bird expires on June 1, 2021 a Producer membership is $99 per year. That’s the equivalent of 15 minutes with an attorney. While Farm Commons doesn’t replace that relationship, farmers who use our resources show up better prepared and more efficient with their attorney’s time, saving them hundreds and even thousands of dollars in billable attorney hours. Not only does the investment in Farm Commons save money overall, it builds the world we all want to see- a world where legal education is accessible, based in the community, and rooted in values

We aren’t charging a fee to make money off the backs of our incredibly hard-working and already-squeezed farmers and ranchers. In all honesty, this membership rate doesn’t even cover our costs. We do it because creating accountability to you is vital. We are also doing it because the resilience of our agricultural community depends on shared investment. We all need skin in the game when it comes to getting better insurance policies, clearer interpretations of regulations, and stronger solutions to interpersonal conflicts on the farm.

  • Benefits of the Producer Membership:
    • Free registration for Discovering Resilience, our interactive, online 5-week workshop that empowers farmers and ranchers to implement the 10 best practices of a legally resilient farm.
    • Access to all of our print resources including tip sheets, in-depth guides, models, and checklists.
    • Participation in our private social media platform where you can post questions, offer answers, share documents, and join discussions together with other farmers and ranchers.
    • Join once-monthly facilitated, live forums about selected legal topics with your peers and Farm Commons staff.
    • Watch recorded webinars on a variety of timely legal topics at your convenience.
    • Coming Soon: Deepen your knowledge by taking our on-demand, advanced courses in select farm law subjects.
  • Commitment:
    • EARLY BIRD: Sign up by June 1, 2021 and receive an annual membership through March 1, 2022 for just $49.
    • The regular rate is $99 for 12 months of access. 

Farmers and Ranchers: If you sign up now for our online Discovering Resilience workshop you will receive a year-long membership to Farm Commons AND your ticket to the workshop for just $49. Our producer membership rate goes up to $99 on June 1, so don’t wait. Spots are limited- we expect the March Discovering Resilience workshop series to sell out fast! Find full details to reserve your membership and seat in our March 2021 workshop here.

 

Institutional Membership

Extension agents, nonprofit professionals, lenders, advocates, business advisors and other agricultural service providers get the same in-depth guides and resources with an Institutional membership, plus the added bonus of a license to distribute these materials to their agricultural audiences. Whether hosting a class, meeting with a client, or preparing a workshop, add tangible value by integrating our resources and materials into your service. We’re also excited to bring our Guiding Resilience workshop to agricultural professionals nationwide, providing incredible opportunities to learn and connect with others around creating legal resilience for agricultural communities.

  • Benefits of an Institutional Membership:
    • Free registration for Guiding Resilience, our interactive, online workshop that teaches agricultural service providers and professionals the basics of farm law while training them to safely empower farmers and ranchers to implement the 10 best practices of a legally resilient farm.
    • Access to all of our print resources including tip sheets, in-depth guides, models, and checklists.
    • Participation in our private social media platform where you can post questions, offer answers, share documents, and join discussions together with others in our agricultural community.
    • Join once-monthly facilitated, live forums about selected legal topics with your peers and Farm Commons staff.
    • Watch recorded webinars on a variety of timely legal topics at your convenience.
    • AND: Receive a license to distribute our resources and materials as a part of your programming and service to the farm community.
  • Commitment:
    • $199 for 12 months of access. 

Institutional Members: Join as an Institutional Member now and receive priority registration for our very first Guiding Resilience: A Legal Workshop for Farm Service Providers launching in April 2021, along with access to all the benefits of membership as soon as we launch in March. We anticipate the 5-week workshop will reach capacity quickly so don't delay. Explore the details and reserve your ticket now, here. 

 

Legal Professional Membership

Legal Professionals get access to an upcoming set of Continuing Legal Education courses that introduce the basics of sustainable farm law, but with the citations and references attorneys need to make the most of our material. Legal Professionals also get a license to distribute our materials to their farmer clients, allowing them to provide incredible value while building the trust and capability of their clients.

  • Benefits of Legal Professional Membership:
    • Access to all of our print resources including tip sheets, in-depth guides, models, and checklists.
    • Participation in our private social media platform where you can post questions, offer answers, share documents, and join discussions together with others in our agricultural community.
    • Join once-monthly facilitated, live forums about selected legal topics with your peers and Farm Commons staff.
    • Watch recorded webinars on a variety of timely legal topics at your convenience.
    • AND: Receive a license to distribute our resources and materials as a part of your programming and service to the farm community.
    • AND: Attend our Sustainable Farm Law for Agricultural Professionals course which is potentially eligible for 1-6 Continuing Legal Education Credits (subject to approval for CLE credit in your jurisdiction).
  • Commitment:
    • $299 for 12 months of access. 

Legal Professionals: Be the first to know when our CLE courses are ready for registration by signing up for our Legal Professionals Priority list. If you are on our priority list, we will submit our courses for CLE credit approval to your state first! Get on the priority list at this link.

 

Thank you. We are excited to have you join us on this journey to legal resilience. 

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