Browsing AREC Extension Publications by Author "Grahame, Mason"
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- ItemEnsuring the Continued Viability of Rural Communities: Using Mediation to Settle Disputes(2017-08) Grahame, Mason; Goeringer, PaulMediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution, has considerable advantages over litigation in terms of relationships among parties, finances, and time. Mediation can be a useful alternative to expensive litigation for many disputes. It encourages individuals to take responsibility for their issues by meeting to discuss both sides of the story openly, and properly identifying facts with a mediator in an effort to avoid expensive litigation. This publication covers Maryland's Agricultural Conflict Resolution Service through the Maryland Department of Agriculture. This USDA approved mediation program works to provide low-cost to free mediation services to resolve agricultural disputes.
- ItemManagement Tool of Last Resort: Bankruptcy Offers Protections to Qualifying Agricultural Operations and Fishermen to Restructure Business and Survive Tough Economic Times(2017-10-17) Grahame, Mason; Goeringer, PaulAgriculture like many businesses is full of risks: marketing, financial, production, labor, and legal risks. With each risk area, producers must develop strategies to manage those risks. To manage marketing risks, for example, a producer would develop a plan for how to handle crops grown over the course of the season to maximize profits. Managing financial risks may require a producer to purchase crop insurance to cover losses if a crop fails. But sometimes in an operation, the risks may outnumber the strategies developed to manage those risks, and the operation may experience significant financial losses. Bankruptcy is often a risk management tool of last resort for a farming operation. For many family farmers and fishermen, the idea of bankruptcy is enough to lose the benefits from avoiding filing in a reasonable time. Chapter 12 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code has made business reorganization and debt repayment a much more streamlined process, allowing family farmers and fishermen to reorganize their operation to avoid total business collapse. Chapter 12 is useful for most farmers and fishermen seeking help under U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is useful for debts of a single individual in business with unexpected business difficulties, and Chapter 11 may be used as a last resort when a debtor’s debt exceeds limits from other chapters, or are not qualified for a Chapter 12.
- ItemValuing On-Farm Heir’s Sweat Equity Is Complicated: Agreements Can Fairly Compensate On-Farm Heirs(2018-10) Grahame, Mason; Johnson, Dale; Onumajuru, Catherine; Goeringer, PaulDetermining the value of sweat equity can be both challenging and controversial for farm families. Sweat equity arises as an issue when an on-farm heir receives payment at below market rate, and the farm business grows in size due to an on-farm heir’s below-market labors. Land in the farm may also appreciate in value due to the work of the on-farm heir. It is important to note that the best solution for handling sweat equity is to agree early on to pay the on-farm heir at a market rate. Handling sweat equity early on may necessitate the on-farm heir also working off the farm for additional income if the farm cannot support an additional person fulltime. It is important to discuss the farm succession plan and limit the possibility of sweat equity claims at an early stage of farm expansion.