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By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Wednesday, April 03rd, 2024

I'm often asked how an attorney becomes an "agricultural attorney."  The answer is simple: through knowledge. The best agricultural attorneys I know have two kinds of knowledge: they know agriculture, and they know the laws that affect agriculture.  There are several upcoming events that can help attorneys and law students gain the legal knowledge required to be an agricultural attorney.

The National Agricultural Law Center is currently offering two opportunities for attorneys and law students:

  1. Research Fellowships for Law Students.  NALC employs law students in their second and third years as Research Fellows who help conduct legal research and writing projects. It's an outstanding opportunity to gain research experience and access to the world of agricultural law.  As a partner of the NALC, our OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program usually has one or two NALC Research Fellows working with us. For the upcoming term, specific research topics for NALC Research Fellows might include but are not limited to food safety and food labeling; environmental regulation of agriculture; agricultural finance and credit; other relevant issues such as agricultural data and technology, land use, farm programs, local and regional food systems and agricultural labor; and legal issues of importance to underserved populations, including BIPOC, such as heirs property, access to credit, environmental law/justice and food system equity. Interested law students must act quickly, as the fellowship applications are due April 5, 2024.  Application information is available on the National Agricultural Law Center website.
  2. Agricultural & Environmental Law Conferences.  NALC is hosting two legal conferences this June:  the Mid-South Agricultural & Environmental Conference in Memphis, Tennessee on June 6-7 and the Western Agricultural & Environmental Law Conference on June 13-14.  We've attended the NALC conferences, and they're excellent learning experiences that cover the breadth of topics we face in agricultural law.  The conferences also allow attendees to interact with speakers and other attorneys from around the country, and law students are welcomed.  Registration is now open for both conferences and is available on the National Agricultural Law Center website.

Two additional opportunities for agricultural attorneys and law students are on the horizon, and include:

  1. The Cultivating Connections Conference.  Our program here at OSU, in partnership with Iowa State University's Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation and the National Agricultural Law Center, is planning to host the second annual Cultivating Connections Conference for attorneys, accountants, appraisers, financial planners, and other professionals interested in farm transition planning.  We welcome law students and other young professionals to join us. The conference will be in Cincinnati, Ohio on August 4 and 5, and registration will soon be available on our Farm Office website.
  2. The AALA Annual Educational Symposium.  The American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) will host its annual conference on November 7- 9 in Memphis, Tennessee.  The AALA also includes law students in its conference, and offers several activities for the students.  The AALA is currently accepting presentation proposals for the conference and registration will open later this Spring on the AALA website.

If you are or want to be in agricultural law, don't miss out on these opportunities to gain the critical knowledge necessary to be an agricultural attorney.  Agriculture needs you!

 

Combine in the field.
By: Jeffrey K. Lewis, Esq., Friday, October 27th, 2023

Agricultural & Natural Resources Income Tax Issues Webinar
Barry Ward, Director, Income Tax Schools at The Ohio State University
Jeff Lewis, Income Tax Schools at The Ohio State University

Tax practitioners, farmers, and farmland owners are encouraged to connect to the Agricultural and Natural Resources Income Tax Issues Webinar (via Zoom) on December 13 from 8:45 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. The event is sponsored by Income Tax Schools at The Ohio State University.

The webinar focuses on issues specific to farm tax returns related to agriculture and natural resources and will highlight timely topics and new regulations.

The program is an intermediate-level course for tax preparers whose clients include farmers and rural landowners. Farmers who prepare and file their own taxes will also benefit from the webinar.

Tentative topics to be covered during the Ag Tax Issues webinar include:

  • Timely Tax Issues Facing Agricultural Producers
    • Employee vs Independent Contractor
    • Cost-Sharing Exclusion
    • Farm Trade or Business
    • Farming S Corporations
    • Timber Taxation
  • Legislative and Regulatory Update
  • Form 1099s Requirements for Farmers and Ranchers
  • Tax Schemes Targeting the Farm 
  • Tax Issues Arriving at the Death of a Farmer
  • Ohio Tax Update

Other chapters included in the workbook not included in the webinar includes: Material Participation Rules for Farmers, Ranchers and Landowners, Livestock Tax Issues, Depreciating and Expensing Farm Assets, Sale and Exchange of Farm Property, Sample Tax Return.

The cost for the one-day school is $180 if registered by November 29th. After November 29th, the registration increases to $230. Additionally, the course has been approved for the following continuing education credits:

•          Accountancy Board of Ohio, CPAs (6 hours)

•          Office of Professional Responsibility, IRS (6 hours)

•          Supreme Court of Ohio, Attorneys (5 hours)

Registration includes the Agricultural Tax Issues Workbook. Early registration (at least two weeks prior to the webinar) guarantees that you’ll receive a workbook prior to the webinar. 

The live webinar will also feature options for interaction and the ability to ask questions about the presented material.

More information on the workshop, including how to register, can be found at: https://farmoffice.osu.edu/tax/2023-ag-tax-issues-webinar

Contact Barry Ward at ward.8@osu.edu or Jeff Lewis at lewis.1459@osu.edu

The word "taxes" laid in grain.
By: Jeffrey K. Lewis, Esq., Friday, October 20th, 2023

Income Tax Schools 2023
OSU Extension Announces Two-Day Tax Schools for Tax Practitioners &
Agricultural & Natural Resources Income Tax Issues Webinar 
Barry Ward & Jeff Lewis, OSU Income Tax Schools

Tax provisions related to new legislation as well as issues related to trusts and estates, retirement, sales of business property, and income for both individuals and businesses are among the topics to be discussed during the upcoming Tax School workshop series offered throughout Ohio in October, November, and December.

The annual series is designed to help tax preparers learn about federal tax law changes and updates for this year as well as learn more about issues they may encounter when filing individual and small business 2023 tax returns.

The tax schools are intermediate-level courses that focus on interpreting tax regulations and changes in tax law to help tax preparers, accountants, financial planners and attorneys advise their clients. The schools offer continuing education credit for certified public accountants, enrolled agents, attorneys, annual filing season preparers and certified financial planners.

Our instructors are what make the difference in our program. Most have been teaching OSU tax schools for over 20 years and make themselves available long after the class to make sure attendees get through the tax filing season.

Attendees also receive a class workbook that alone is an extremely valuable reference as it offers over 600 pages of material including helpful tables and examples that will be valuable to practitioners. Summaries of the chapters in this year’s workbook can be viewed by visiting: 
2023 National Income Tax Workbook Topics

A sample chapter from a past workbook can be found at: 
https://taxworkbook.com/about-the-tax-workbook/

This year, OSU Income Tax Schools will offer both in-person schools and an online virtual school presented over the course of four afternoons.

In-person schools:
October 26-27, Ole Zim’s Wagon Shed, Gibsonburg/Fremont
October 30-31, Presidential Banquet Center, Kettering/Dayton
November 2-3, Old Barn Restaurant & Grill, Lima
November 7-8, Muskingum County Conference and Welcome Center, Zanesville
November 16-17, Hartville Kitchen, Hartville
November 20-21, Ashland University, John C. Meyers Convocation Center, Ashland
November 28-29, Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, Columbus

Virtual On-Line School presented via Zoom:
December 1, 4, 6, & 8, 12:30 – 4:45 p.m.

Register two weeks prior to the school date and receive the two-day tax school early-bird registration fee of $425.  This includes all materials, lunches, and refreshments. The deadline to enroll is 10 business days prior to the date of each school. After the school deadline, the fee increases to $475. 

Additionally, the 2023 Checkpoint Federal Tax Handbook is available to purchase by participants for a discounted fee of $70 each. Registration information and the online registration portal can be found online at: https://go.osu.edu/tax2023

In addition to the tax schools, the program offers a separate, two-hour ethics webinar that will broadcast Monday, December 11th at 1 p.m. The webinar is $25 for school attendees and $50 for non-attendees and is approved by the IRS and the Ohio Accountancy Board for continuing education credit.

A webinar on Ag Tax Issues will be held Wednesday, December 13th from 8:45 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. If you are a tax practitioner that represents farmers or rural landowners or are a farmer or farmland owner that prepares your own taxes, this five-hour webinar is for you. It will focus on key topics and new legislation related specifically to those income tax returns.

Registration, which includes the Ag Tax Issues workbook, is $180 if registered at least two weeks prior to the webinar. After November 29, registration is $230. Register by visiting: https://go.osu.edu/tax2023.

NEW! Introduction to Tax Preparation Course. 
New this year, we are offering an introduction to tax preparation course. Our instructors are highly qualified tax professionals presenting a real-world approach to tax preparation. This course is designed for professionals with 0-5 years of experience and seeks to help build a foundation for which all tax professionals can continue to build off of. To read more about our introductory course and the topics covered visit, https://farmoffice.osu.edu/tax/new-introduction-tax-preparation-course.

The introductory course will be held on November 13th and 14th at the Der Dutchman in Bellville, Ohio. The course has been approved for continuing education credits by the IRS, the Ohio Accountancy Board, and the Ohio Supreme Court. Registration is $425 prior to October 30th. Registration fees increase to $475 beginning November 1st. Registration includes a 300+ page workbook created by our instructors to help you throughout the beginning of your career! 

Contact Barry Ward at 614-688-3959, ward.8@osu.edu or Jeff Lewis at 614-247-1720, lewis.1459@osu.edu for more information.

Posted In: Legal Education, Tax
Tags: tax, Tax Preparation, Tax Professional
Comments: 0
Entrance to OSU Agricultural Administration building
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Tuesday, April 25th, 2023

Sixty-six undergraduate students just completed our Agribusiness Law class in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at OSU yesterday.  It’s always a challenge to teach students all I want them to know about agricultural law in the short time I have with them. And it always generates excitement and relief when I can see that they have learned.

In one assignment this semester, students had to consider the property laws we studied and devise three “real life” questions about the laws.  Next, they had to write the answers to the questions they drafted.  The legal accuracy of their answers is important, of course, and illustrates their comprehension of the laws we studied.  But selecting and writing the questions is equally important, as students must predict when and how the law would apply in a “real world” situation they might encounter.

Many of the student works showed that learning had certainly taken place this semester.  And some of their questions were so insightful and relevant that they should also be useful in the “real world.”  Below are excellent questions and answers from four students.  They illustrate what the students learned, but they will likely be helpful for our readers, too.  Take a look at what our students  are asking and answering about agricultural property laws!

Question 1 comes from Katie Anderholm, a senior from Medina, Ohio majoring in Agribusiness and Applied Economics.

Q:   Am I at risk to be sued from my new neighbors who keep complaining about my cows?
A:  A farmer is not as risk to be sued, or at least rightfully sued, by their new neighbors because of the Ohio Revised Code 929.04 and 3767.13. Both codes, the Right to Farm defense to civil action for nuisance and Ohio’s “Statutory Nuisance” Law, protect farmers and their operations from complaints regarding farming. The farmer’s neighbors who have been complaining about his cows do not have a strong argument for legal action because the agricultural activities were established before they moved adjacent to the farm. If the farmer is following proper animal care and manure handling and the neighbors moved after the farming began, then the neighbors will not have merit for a civil action. I would advise the farmer to have a conversation with the neighbors to ease tensions and explain that they knowingly moved next to a cattle operation and that there are certain things that come with that. I have learned that people who are not involved in agriculture in their everyday life to not understand the fundamentals, and sometimes education and consideration can go a long way.

Question 2 is from Cori Lee, a senior from Marysville, Ohio, graduating this May with a major in Sustainable Plant Systems Agronomy and a minor in Agribusiness.

Q:  Two siblings own ground that was passed on to them by their parents, where one farms, and the other one has no interest in farming. Can one sibling sell the land, even if the other one does not want to? What can be done to prevent losing the ground?
Yes, as co-owners, one sibling can sell their share of the land, even if the other sibling disagrees and is actively using the land for income and farming. This would force the other sibling to either also sell their share of the land or buy the other sibling out. This is explained in Section 5307.01 of the Ohio Revised Code, the partition law. Whether it is considered a “Tenancy in Common” or “Survivorship Tenancy”, they are both subject to partition. The partition process is also explained in Chapter 5307, and is often lengthy and can ultimately result in both owners being forced to sell the land. However, placing the land in an LLC can prevent this situation, as it would remove partition rights completely and the LLC would be treated as the sole owner of the land. This also provides other opportunities to have more control over how the land could be sold and allow terms to be set to buy out other LLC members. In order to avoid a scenario like this, landowners should carefully plan the transition of  their estate to avoid any costly mistakes for the next generation. 

Question 3 is by Kole Vollrath, a senior from South Charleston, Ohio majoring in Construction Systems Management.

Q:  I own a field and the state has contacted me seeking eminent domain for a roadway that they are planning to build cutting directly through my field. I am new to this sort of action and I am wondering what the proper actions will be in this case?
A:  Ohio Revised Code Chapter 163 is the eminent domain law that contains the four required procedures the taking entity (the state in this situation) must provide to the landowner. The first is the notice which you have already received, followed by a “just compensation” offer for the land in question, then appraisal of the property, and then finally a hearing in court to decide on or stop the taking if you don't agree to the offer. In the situation of a road as in this case, it is hard to stop the taking, so the fourth option will likely be more about getting fair money out of the deal rather than stopping construction completely. The reason that it will be hard to stop a road construction is because of Ohio Constitution Article 1 Section 19. This explains that eminent domain is allowed to happen when it is for a valid public use of the property, and since this is a road, it will be hard to argue that is not valid. However, it can still be beneficial to the landowner to hold strong in steps 2 and 3 and get an appraisal, then go to court and try to extract fair money for yourself out of the situation.

Question 4 is from Lyndie Williams, a senior from Bucyrus, Ohio majoring in Agribusiness and Applied Economics.

Q:  Can I be held accountable for damage to a neighbor’s property that they claim is due to water drainage from my property?
A:  In short, yes it is possible to be held accountable for damage to a neighbor’s property if it was caused by water drainage from your property, but not always. While every property owner has the right to reasonably use their land, including water flow and drainage, there can be consequences of this if harm is caused to others. First, determining what is “reasonable” for water drainage when evaluating harm to another is necessary. Courts will look at four factors when determining reasonable drainage: utility of the use, gravity of the harm, practicality of avoiding the harm, and justice. If your purpose for drainage is valid, the harm caused by drainage use is not overly detrimental to others, it is impractical to use an alternative form of drainage, and it is not unfair to require other landowners to bear losses caused by your drainage, then you would not likely be held accountable for damage to their property due to water drainage from your property. However, if some or all of these “reasonable”  requirements are not met, then you would need to look into drainage problem resolutions, as you could be accountable for their damages. Drainage problem resolutions include voluntary fix, drainage improvement projects, drainage easements, and litigation. For example, one drainage problem resolution is a drainage easement which is in writing, recorded, and involves an attorney. In a drainage easement you would pay the neighboring landowner for the right to drain your water onto their property for the damages they will incur as a result. Drainage easements are usually perpetual but can be termed and include access and maintenance rights and responsibilities for the easement holder.

By: Robert Moore, Thursday, January 05th, 2023

 

Legal Groundwork

Most of us, at some point, will need the services of an attorney.  Attorneys seem to be ubiquitous in our society with almost everyone having some idea of what an attorney is or what an attorney does.  However, many people may not know what it takes to become an attorney.  Understanding the process to become an attorney may help us better understand the legal profession and in turn allow us to make a more informed decision when we need to retain an attorney’s services.  The following is a brief summary of the process to become an attorney.

The first step on the path to becoming an attorney is to obtain a four-year undergraduate degree.  An undergraduate degree is a minimum requirement to attend law school.  Many people who plan to go to law school will obtain an undergraduate degree in history, political science or English.  These areas of study are thought to provide a good foundation for law school.  However, applicants are accepted to law school with a wide variety of areas of study.  From personal experience, law schools will accept an applicant with a B.S. in Dairy Science.  Law schools like to have diversity in their student populations.  An uncommon degree or atypical degree, like Dairy Science, can make the applicant more attractive by adding diversity to the law school.

There is an exception to the four-year degree requirement.  Some law schools may allow someone who has completed 3 years of undergraduate work to complete their fourth year of an undergraduate degree by completing their first year of law school.  This is known as the 3+3 program.  

Earning a law degree is the next step.  It typically takes three years to complete a law degree although some law schools offer a part-time program that takes four years to complete.  In the first year or two, students are required to take core law classes such as contracts, constitutional law and criminal law.  In the last year of law school, law students take elective courses that match with their interests.  The degree awarded upon completing law school is a Juris Doctor (JD).  It is possible to go beyond a JD and receive a master’s degree in law (LLM).  LLMs are in a focused area of the law such as taxation or agricultural law.

In the last year of law school, students will begin the process of requesting permission to join the state bar.  The Ohio Supreme Court oversees the admission of new attorneys.  A part of the application process is a character fitness interview.  The applicant will meet with two attorneys, usually in their county of residence. The two interviewing attorneys will evaluate whether the applicant has suitable qualities to be an attorney. The evaluation includes a review of prior criminal charges or citations, an analysis of financial stability and an assessment of a demeanor and temperament suitable to practice law.  The character fitness review seeks to ensure that new attorneys have the requisite background and character to serve clients.

The next step is to pass a professional conduct exam. Each law student must take an exam that focuses on issues such as conflicts of interest and attorney/client privilege.  The professional conduct exam in Ohio is a multiple-choice exam.

After receiving a law degree, passing the character fitness review and successfully completing the professional conduct exam, the law student takes the bar exam.  This notorious exam is two days long.  Part of the test is multiple choice and part is a written test.  The bar exam must be passed before becoming an attorney in Ohio.  The exam is taken in person and is available in February and July of every year.  The passage rate for the July, 2022 bar exam was 72% for all takers and 80% for first time takers.  To put this in perspective, 20% of the people who spent three years in law school and passed all the other requirements were not permitted to be attorneys because they did not pass the bar exam.  The bar exam can be taken as many times as needed to pass. Failing a bar exam does not mean the person can never be an attorney, it just means they need to take the bar exam until passed. Upon passing the bar exam, new attorneys are sworn in by a justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.  

Becoming an attorney is a long process taking at least seven years of school in total.  Law schools ensure each new attorney has achieved certain academic standards and the Ohio Supreme Court confirms that every new attorney has some level of competence in the law and has the character fitness to assist clients in their legal endeavors.  The next time you hire an attorney, you can be assured that the attorney has met the academic requirements of a law school and the competency and character fitness requirements of the Ohio Supreme Court.

 

Posted In: Legal Education
Tags: attorney
Comments: 0
By: Barry Ward, Friday, October 01st, 2021

Barry Ward & Julie Strawser, OSU Income Tax Schools

 

Dealing with the tax provisions of the COVID-related legislation for both individuals and businesses are among the topics to be discussed during the upcoming Tax School workshop series offered throughout Ohio in November and December.

The annual series is designed to help tax preparers learn about federal tax law changes and updates for this year as well as learn more about issues they may encounter when filing individual and small business 2021 tax returns.

 

OSU Income Tax Schools are intermediate-level courses that focus on interpreting tax regulations and changes in tax law to help tax preparers, accountants, financial planners and attorneys advise their clients. The schools offer continuing education credit for certified public accountants, enrolled agents, attorneys, annual filing season preparers and certified financial planners.

 

Attendees also receive a class workbook that alone is an extremely valuable reference as it offers over 600 pages of material including helpful tables and examples that will be valuable to practitioners. Summaries of the chapters in this year’s workbook can be viewed at this site:

https://farmoffice.osu.edu/tax/2021-tax-school-chapters

A sample chapter from a past workbook can be found at:

https://taxworkbook.com/about-the-tax-workbook/

 

This year, OSU Income Tax Schools will offer both in-person schools and an online virtual school presented over the course of four afternoons.

 

In-person schools:

 

November 1-2, Presidential Banquet Center, Kettering/Dayton

November 3-4, Ole Zim’s Wagon Shed, Gibsonburg/Fremont

November 17-18, Ashland University John C. Meyer Convocation Center, Ashland

November 22-23, Christopher Conference Center, Chillicothe

November 29-30, Zane State/Ohio University Zanesville Campus, Zanesville

December 2-3, Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, OSU Campus, Columbus

December 6-7, Hartville Kitchen, Hartville

 

Virtual On-Line School presented via Zoom:

November 8, 12, 15 & 19, 12:30 – 4:45 p.m.

 

Register two weeks prior to the school date and receive the two-day tax school early-bird registration fee of $400.  This includes all materials, lunches and refreshments. The deadline to enroll is 10 business days prior to the date of each school. After the school deadline, the fee increases to $450.

 

Additionally, the 2022 RIA Federal Tax Handbook is available to purchase by participants for a discounted fee of $50 each. Registration information and the online registration portal can be found online at:

http://go.osu.edu/2021tax

 

In addition to the tax schools, the program offers a separate, two-hour ethics webinar that will broadcast Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 1 p.m. The webinar is $25 for school attendees and $50 for non-attendees and is approved by the IRS and the Ohio Accountancy Board for continuing education credit.

 

A webinar on Ag Tax Issues will be held Monday, Dec. 13 from 8:45 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.

If you are a tax practitioner that represents farmers or rural landowners or are a farmer or farmland owner that prepares your own taxes, this five-hour webinar is for you. It will focus on key topics and new legislation related specifically to those income tax returns.

 

Registration, which includes the Ag Tax Issues workbook, is $150 if registered at least two weeks prior to the webinar. After November 29, registration is $200. Register by mail or on-line at https://go.osu.edu/agissues2021.

 

Participants may contact Ward at 614-688-3959, ward.8@osu.edu or Julie Strawser 614-292-2433, strawser.35@osu.edu for more information.

Posted In: Business and Financial, Legal Education, Tax
Tags:
Comments: 0
Farm Office Team on Zoom Webinar
By: Jeffrey K. Lewis, Esq., Wednesday, July 14th, 2021

"Farm Office Live" returns this summer as an opportunity for you to get the latest outlook and updates on ag law, farm management, ag economics, farm business analysis, and other related issues.  Targeted to farmers and agri-business stakeholders, our specialists digest the latest news and issues and present it in an easy-to-understand format.

The live broadcast is presented monthly.  In months where two shows are scheduled, one will be held in the morning and one in the evening.  Each session is recorded and posted on the OSU Extension Farm Office YouTube channel for later viewing.

Current Schedule:

July 23, 2021 10:00 - 11:30 am  December 17, 2021 10:00 - 11:30 am 
August 27, 2021 10:00 - 11:30 am  January 19, 2022 7:00 - 8:30 pm 
September 23, 2021 10:00 - 11:30 am  January 21, 2022 10:00 - 11:30 am 
October 13, 2021 7:00 - 8:30 pm  Februrary 16, 2022 7:00 - 8:30 pm 
October 15, 2021 10:00 - 11:30 am  February 18, 2022 10:00 - 11:30 am 
November 17, 2021 7:00 - 8:30 pm  March 16, 2022 7:00 - 8:30 pm 
November 19, 2021 10:00 - 11:30 am  March 18, 2022  10:00 - 11:30 am 
December 15, 2021 7:00 - 8:30 pm  April 20, 2022 7:00 - 8:30 pm 

Topics we will discuss in upcoming webinars include:

  • Coronavirus Food Assitance Program (CFAP) 
  • Legislative Proposals and Accompanying Tax Provisions
  • Outlook on Crop Input Costs and Profit Margins 
  • Outlook on Cropland Values and Cash Rents 
  • Tax Issues That May Impact Farm Businesses 
  • Legal Trends
  • Legislative Updates
  • Farm Business Management and Analysis
  • Farm Succession & Estate Planning
 

To register or to view a previous "Farm Office Live," please visit https://go.osu.edu/farmofficelive. You will receive a reminder with your personal link to join each month. 

The Farm Office is a one-stop shop for navigating the legal and economic challenges of agricultural production. For more information visit https://farmoffice.osu.edu or contact Julie Strawser at strawser.35@osu.edu or call 614.292.2433

Ohio Capitol Building
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Thursday, February 11th, 2021

There’s an old saying that legislation either lives or dies in committee.  Committees and their chairpersons play a critical role in determining whether an idea makes it through the legislative process and becomes a law.   So let’s take a look at the new members and chairs of our agriculture committees, recently appointed for the new two-year session of the 134th Ohio General Assembly.

After announcing a change in the committee’s name from “Agriculture and Rural Development” to “Agriculture and Conservation Committee,” House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) finalized his committee appointments.  The new committee will include:

  • Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) will return as Committee Chair.  Now in his fourth term in the Ohio House, Rep. Koehler has a background as a software engineer and working for his family’s tool company but has raised livestock and refers to himself as a hobby farmer.  Rep. Koehler recently received the “Friend of Agriculture” endorsement from Ohio Farm Bureau.
  • Rep. Rodney Creech (R-West Alexandria) will serve as the new Committee Vice Chair during his first term in the House. Rep. Creech farms in Preble County, owns a lawn care business, and has served as a township trustee and county commissioner.
  • Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) will also return to the committee as its Ranking Member.  Rep. Brent is in her second term in the House, with a background in non-profit and community engagement work.
  • Rep. Brian Baldridge (R-Winchester)
  • Rep. Adam C. Bird (R-New Richmond)
  • Rep. Sarah Fowler Arthur (R-Geneva-on-the-Lake)
  • Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo)
  • Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport)
  • Rep. Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville)
  • Rep. Joseph A. Miller (D-Amherst)
  • Rep. Michael J. O’Brien (D-Warren)
  • Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum)
  • Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon)

On the Senate side, Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) announced the members of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, which will include:

  • Sen. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) as the new Committee Chair.   Sen. Shaffer is in his third term in the Senate and was also elected to the Ohio House for four terms.  He is also an association executive in the private sector, and has earned the “Friend of Agriculture” award from Ohio Farm Bureau along with over a dozen other awards for his legislative service. 
  • Sen. Stephen A. Huffman (R-Tipp City) will serve as the Committee Vice Chair. Following two terms in the House, Sen. Huffman is in his first term as a Senator.  Sen. Huffman is a practicing physician and will also chair the Senate’s Health Committee.
  • Sen. Teresa Fedor  (D-Toledo) is the committee’s Ranking Minority Member.  A two-term Senator also elected to three terms in the House, Sen. Fedor is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Ohio Air National Guard and a retired teacher for Toledo Public Schools.
  • Sen. Bob Hackett (R-London)
  • Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Columbus)
  • Sen. Sandra O’Brien (R-Ashtabula)
  • Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House)

The House Agriculture and Conservation Committee holds its first meeting next Tuesday, February 16.  Follow the committee through its website, which includes meeting agendas and minutes, bills under consideration, and video of committee meetings.

The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee began its work last week with consideration of a bill authorizing the use of owls in the sport of falconry.  Meeting agendas and bills under consideration are available on the committee’s website

Stay tuned to the Ohio Ag Law Blog for updateson legislative proposals and what bills live or die in our agriculture committees.

USDA National Agricultural Library and National Agricultural Law Center

By: Barry Ward, Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

Barry Ward & Julie Strawser, OSU Income Tax Schools

Dealing with the tax provisions of the COVID-related legislation for both individuals and businesses are among the topics to be discussed during the upcoming Tax School workshop series offered throughout Ohio in November and December.

The annual series is designed to help tax preparers learn about federal tax law changes and updates for this year, as well as learn more about issues they may encounter when filing individual and small business 2020 tax returns.

The tax schools are intermediate-level courses that focus on interpreting tax regulations and changes in tax laws to help tax preparers, accountants, financial planners and attorneys advise their clients. The schools offer continuing education credit for certified public accountants, enrolled agents, attorneys, annual filing season preparers and certified financial planners.

This is another important year for tax education as the new COVID-related legislation creates some challenges for tax practitioners to prepare tax returns. These schools offer an excellent set of instructors with a great deal of experience and training along with a top reference workbook to prepare tax practitioners to best serve their clients during this ongoing process of incorporating recent tax law changes in completing tax returns.

The workbook alone is an extremely valuable reference as it offers over 700 pages of material including helpful tables and examples that will be valuable to practitioners. Sample chapters of the reference workbook can be found at: https://go.osu.edu/WorkbookChapters

Topics/chapters to be presented this year during the two-day tax schools include:

Financial Distress, S-Corporation Tax Issues, IRS Issues, Business Entity Issues, Agricultural and Natural Resource Issues, Retirement and Investment Issues, Individual Tax Issues, Business Tax Issues, Trusts and Estates, Rulings and Cases, New Legislation.

This year, OSU Income Tax Schools will offer both in-person schools and online virtual schools.

In person schools:

1.         Lima – November 2-3

Old Barn Restaurant and Grill

3175 W Elm Street, Lima, OH 45805

2.         Fremont – November 4-5

Ole Zim’s Wagon Shed

1375 State Route 590, Gibsonburg, OH 43431

3.         Ashland – November 11-12 SOLD OUT

Ashland University

John C. Meyers Convocation Center

820 Clermont Ave., Ashland, OH  44805

4.         Dayton – November 17-18

Presidential Banquet Center

4548 Presidential Way, Kettering, OH  45429

5.         Columbus – December 10-11 SOLD OUT

Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center

2201 Fred Taylor Dr., Columbus, OH 43221

Virtual Online Schools:

1.         Webinar (Zoom)

November 9, 13, 16 and 19

Each Day 12:30 – 5pm

Zoom Webinar

2.         Livestream (Zoom)

December 10-11

Livestream of Columbus Tax School Location via Zoom

In addition to the tax schools, the program offers a separate, two-hour ethics webinar that will broadcast Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. The webinar is $25 for school attendees and $50 for non-attendees and is approved by the IRS and the Ohio Accountancy Board for continuing education credit

Register two weeks prior to the school date and receive the two-day tax school early-bird registration fee of $375.  This includes all materials, lunches and refreshments. The deadline to enroll is 10 business days prior to the date of each school. After the school deadline, the fee increases to $425.

Additionally, the 2020 RIA Federal Tax Handbook is available to purchase by participants for a discounted fee of $45 each. Registration information and the online registration portal can be found online at:

http://go.osu.edu/2020tax

A webinar on Ag Tax Issues will be held Dec. 18 from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

If you are a tax practitioner that represents farmers or rural landowners or are a farmer or farmland owner that prepares your own taxes, this five-hour webinar is for you. It will focus on key topics and new legislation related specifically to those income tax returns.

Registration, which includes the Ag Tax Issues workbook, is $150. Register by mail or on-line at http://go.osu.edu/agissues2020

Participants may contact Ward at 614-688-3959, ward.8@osu.edu or Julie Strawser 614-292-2433, strawser.35@osu.edu for more information.

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Evin Bachelor at OSU Farm Science Review
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Friday, October 18th, 2019

Mentoring is a rewarding part of my position with OSU, but it is often a bittersweet experience to see young people come and go.  Such is the case with our law fellow Evin Bachelor, whom I’ve had the privilege of mentoring for the past two years.  Evin left the Farm Office on September 30 to pursue private practice. 

While I’m happy to send Evin off to serve farmers with his brilliant legal mind, I’m sad to see him go.  I will miss his passion, his cleverness, his analytical gifts, and his hearty laugh.  But it’s been a joy to help Evin evolve from a law student curious about agricultural law to an attorney prepared to impact the world of agricultural law.  He has deftly exceeded every challenge I’ve given him.

One of those challenges was to co-author a set of law bulletins on legal documents used in farm financing arrangements, his final project.  The Financing the Farm law bulletin series, which specifically targets new and beginning farmers, is now available.  The series includes explanations of mortgages, promissory notes, installment contracts, leasing arrangements and secured transactions, and how they’re used in farm financing.  Access the law bulletins in the Financing the Farm series here.

Evin will be practicing law with our good friends at Wright & Moore Law Co. LPA in Delaware, Ohio.  He's an excellent addition to an already outstanding agricultural law firm.  You’ll continue to see his work on the Farm Office, however, as I’ll be contracting with Evin on a few more finance and farm transition projects in the next year.  The mentorship and Evin’s time at OSU is over, but the relationship will continue.  A bittersweet ending, to be sure.

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