Membership FAQ

What is Farm Commons' entity and tax status, and where does your revenue come from?

Farm Commons exists to empower agricultural communities to resolve their own legal vulnerabilities, within an ecosystem of support. As such, we are a 501(c)(3) charitable organization registered as a Wisconsin nonstock corporation.

The largest portion of Farm Commons’ funding is from grant income. We also receive money from foundations and other nonprofits in support of our charitable mission. We earn revenue by developing custom curricula and educational materials for other nonprofits and entities. We also earn revenue through membership fees.

Although our staff attorneys are licensed to practice law, we do not provide legal services to individuals or organizations except in very occasional circumstances. We also do not currently have a corporate giving program. If and when we launch a corporate giving program, we will follow procedures that ensure our educational materials remain free from any influence to recommend specific products or services to our membership.

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I farm and I work for a nonprofit. I am an attorney and an agriculture support person. I'm a student, etc. Which membership category is right for me?

We encourage you to explore all the benefits of membership at our Become a Member page. It lays out the basic guidelines: Farmers and ranchers should join as Producer Members. Extension agents, nonprofit staff, business consultants and other agriculture support professionals should join as Institutional Members. Attorneys, paralegals, and law school graduates should join as Legal Professionals. However, we understand that many of us in the agricultural community serve many roles. Which category is right for your needs?

The primary distinction between membership categories is the grant of a license to distribute our resources. Only Institutional and Legal Professional Members are granted a license to distribute our materials in the course of their work. If a farmer or rancher wishes to distribute our material in an educational workshop or instructional setting, the farmer or rancher should join as an Institutional Member in order to receive a license to do so.  To put it another way, the appropriate membership category should be determined by whether the member intends to use the material in the course of conducting educational programming. Individuals that do should join as an Institutional Member.

Legal Professional members are those who use our resources to further their ability to effectively serve clients. Where an individual is a part of Farm Commons in order to better understand client needs, educate themselves on farm law issues, and otherwise improve their service to paying clients, a Legal Professional Membership is the best choice. This includes law school staff and instructors who use our resources to better serve their students.

We understand that many law school graduates and attorneys who do not actively serve clients may also wish to use our resources. For those not developing or serving a paying client base or student body, the Institutional Membership may be the appropriate choice. Law school students are included in this category.

Become a Member

How does the free trial work?

You can start a free trial one time. If you have previously signed up for a free trial or a membership through this site you cannot participate in another free trial. Trial members can access everything a full member can access, including registering for courses, viewing and saving farm law resources and more!

If you sign up for a multi-week workshop during your 5 day free trial, you will need to become a paid member in order to continue in the workshop class for the full session. If you do not continue your free trial, you will be automatically removed from the workshop.

When will I be charged for another year’s membership?

You can see when you will next be charged in the “My Membership” – Subscriptions tab.

I was previously a Farm Commons member. Can I access my old account and saved materials?

Accounts from our previous website were not migrated to this new website. Individuals will need to create an account again. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Does Farm Commons do advocacy on specific legislation?

Farm Commons believes in a democracy where each individual has the means to influence the laws and regulations of the United States by way of their elected representatives. Farm Commons sees its role in this process as described here. Farm Commons exists to help people understand what the law is. Only when each of us understand what the law is, can we be informed advocates for what it should become. We believe that robust discussion and conversations about the mechanics and outcomes of our laws and regulations is essential to the process of each individual deciding what the law should be for themselves. We take an active role in facilitating and supporting that conversation by providing timely, accurate access to through information on the law as it stands and by supporting conversation through our Commons Community and our workshops, as well as other programming. As such, we do not conduct advocacy via the traditional means of urging individuals to call their elected representatives in support of specific legislation.