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Farm Office Live dates for 2024
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Wednesday, January 17th, 2024

Join us for our monthly Farm Office Live webinar to hear timely updates on farm management and legal issues affecting Ohio agriculture.  The webinar is this Friday, January 19 from 10--11:30 a.m.  Here's our January line-up of topics:

  • Production and Accounting Goals -  Bruce Clevenger, Farm Management Field Specialist

  • Farm Financial Business Analysis Program Update - Clint Schroeder, Program Manager

  • Grain Marketing Update - Seungki Lee, Asst. Professor, OSU Dept. of Agricultural, Environmental & Development Economics

  • The new Ohio Farm Resolution Services Program - Peggy Hall, Director, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program 

  • Solar Development in Ohio Update - Peggy Hall and Eric Romich, Energy Education Field Specialist 

Register for this Friday's and future Farm Office Live webinars through this link.  Can't make it this Friday?  We record all of our Farm Office Live webinars, and the recordings are available on the Farm Office website.


Posted In: Business and Financial
Tags: Farm Office Live
Comments: 0
By: Robert Moore, Thursday, January 11th, 2024

Legal Groundwork

On January 1, 2024, The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) took effect with the primary purpose of combatting money laundering, illicit financial transactions, and financial terrorism. The CTA established the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the U.S. Department of Treasury to oversee a national registry of information on owners of entities that are exempt from conventional disclosure regulations. The CTA requires many businesses formed or operating in the United States to report information about their “beneficial owners” to FinCEN. This new law will affect many farms and small businesses.

Any entity that is required to be registered with the Ohio Secretary of State will be considered a Reporting Company and subject to the CTA.  Generally, this means LLCs, corporations and limited partnerships, common entities for farms, are all subject to the CTA.  There are some types of businesses that are exempt from the CTA, such as banks and accounting firms, but farms are not exempt.

The CTA primarily targets small businesses. Therefore, an exemption is provided for large operating companies.  Companies that meet the following conditions are exempt from the CTA reporting requirements:

  1. employs more than 20 fulltime employees in the United States
  2. has an operating presence at a physical office within the United States; and
  3. Filed a Federal income tax or information return in the United States for the previous year demonstrating more than $5M in gross receipts or sales.

Every Reporting Company must provide FinCEN with information for each and every beneficial owner of the business.  A beneficial owner is any owner that exercises substantial control or owns at least 25 percent of the business.  The information required for each beneficial owner is as follows:

  • Full legal name.
  • Date of birth.
  • Complete current address.
  • Unique identifying number and issuing jurisdiction from one of the following, along with its image:
    • U.S. passport.
    • State driver’s license.
    • Identification document issues by a state, local government or tribe.

Each Reporting Company must submit an initial filing but also must update the filing if there is any change to the required information about the business or beneficial owners.  For example, if a beneficial owner has a change of address or obtains a new driver’s license, the Reporting Company must update the report with FinCEN.  Both the initial report and updates are filed though the FinCEN website portal at

So, what does this all mean for farm businesses?  The CTA and beneficial owner reporting requirements may seem like an intrusion of privacy. It is, in fact, an intrusion of privacy, but Congress has determined that the intrusion is necessary to protect against money laundering, illicit financial transactions, and financial terrorism. Right or wrong, the CTA is now law and farm businesses must follow it to avoid penalties.

The process of reporting should not be overly difficult using the FinCEN online portal. But the reporting will take time, especially for entities with many owners. While the entity should already have each owner’s name, address, and ownership percentage, collecting an image of each owner’s identification document could be time consuming. All businesses required to report under the CTA should develop a plan to file the initial report, monitor reportable changes, and file updated reports. Attorneys, accountants, lenders, and other professionals working with farms should also help remind their clients of the need for the initial reporting and future, updated reports. The CTA reporting is a significant change in business entity management and it may take the entire business team to ensure compliance.

For more information and a detailed discussion of the CTA, see The Corporate Transparency Act: Reporting Requirements law bulletin available at


Webinar title with storm clouds and lightning over a farm field
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Friday, January 05th, 2024

Are your farm business assets adequately protected against risk?  Our webinar on farm insurance, an excellent tool for protecting your assets, can help you answer that question.  Join us for Covering Your Assets: Understanding the Basics of Farm Insurance on January 11, 2024 from 7-9 p.m.  Sponsored by OSU's Agricultural & Resource Law Program and the National Agricultural Law Center, the webinar aims to help you ensure that your insurance best protects you and your farm business.

Topics we'll cover in the webinar include:

  • Who should be insured?
  • How much coverage do you need?
  • Updating asset inventories
  • Contractual duties of carriers
  • Are casual employees covered?
  • Business entities and insurance
  • The claims process
  • Appealing a claim determination
  • Working with your agent

Webinar speakers are the authors of our publication on farm insurance, Covering Your Assets, and include:

  • Robert Moore, Attorney, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program.
  • Jeff Lewis, Attorney, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program, also previously an insurance defense attorney.
  • Samantha Capaldo, Staff Attorney, National Agricultural Law Center, also previously an insurance agent.

The webinar is free, but registration is necessary!  Register at



Posted In: Business and Financial
Tags: farm insurance
Comments: 0
Photo of farm field, blue sky and sunshine with Beginning Farmer Tax Credit heading
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Wednesday, January 03rd, 2024

Ohio's Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program aims to help level the playing field for beginning farmers in Ohio. It does so by providing income tax benefits for both a beginning farmer and someone who transfers farm assets to the beginning farmer.  The new program first became available for the 2023 tax year, and sunsets on January 1, 2028, or when total income tax credits granted amount to $10 million. Participating in the program requires good planning, so now is the optimal time for existing and beginning farmers to consider how best to utilize the program while program funds are still available.

Our law bulletin, Ohio's Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program, can help guide planning efforts.  The bulletin explains how the program works and outlines the process for qualifying for the program's income tax credits.  That process includes:

1.  Meeting eligibility requirements to become certified by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) as a "qualified beginning farmer."  The first step, then, is to determine whether an individual can meet the eligibility requirements, which are: 

  • A resident of Ohio.
  • Seeking entry to or has entered farming within the last 10 years.
  • Farming or intending to farm in Ohio.
  • Has a total net worth of less than $800,000 in 2021, including spouse and dependent assets, as adjusted for inflation each year.
  • Provides the majority of the daily physical labor and management for the farm.
  • Has adequate farming experience or knowledge in the type of farming the individual is conducting.
  • Submits projected earnings statements and demonstrates profit potential.
  • Demonstrates farming will be a significant source of income for the individual.
  • Is not a partner, member, shareholder, or trustee of the assets the individual is seeking to purchase or rent.
  • Completes an ODA-approved financial management course.

2.  Completing training and applying to ODA for certification as a "qualified beginning farmer."  One component of attaining the program's eligibility requirements is completing a financial management course, which an individual who meets all other program requirements must do before applying to ODA to become certified. OSU Extension offers two of the 12 ODA-approved financial management programs an individual can complete to meet the training requirement. 

  • After completing an eligible financial management course, the individual must submit an application to ODA's Office of Farmland Preservation to be approved as a qualified beginning farmer.  The application requires submitting information and documentation showing that the individual meets the eligibility requirements. 
  • If ODA approves the application, the individual will receive a state income tax credit certificate for the amount paid for completing the financial management course.  The qualified beginning farmer can use the tax credit on the current year's tax return and can carry it forward for three succeeding tax years.
  • A list of eligible financial management courses and the application to become a qualified beginning farmer are on the ODA website at

3.  Transfer of agricultural assets to a qualified beginning farmer.  The program also creates a financial incentive for owners who sell or rent agricultural assets to an individual who has been certified as a qualified beginning farmer, as long as the beginning farmer is not a partner, member, shareholder, or trustee with the owner of the agricultural assets.  The asset owner will receive an Ohio income tax credit equal to 3.99% of the asset sale price or gross rental income received during a calendar year for a cash or share rental lease, and can carry the credit forward for up to seven years. 

  • "Agricultural assets" include land in agricultural production (10 or more or if under 10 acres, earning $2500 in average annual gross income from agriculture), livestock, facilities and buildings, and machinery (but not if the owner of machinery is an equipment dealer).
  • A sale of assets must occur in the same calendar year the owner applies for the tax credit.
  • In the case of a rental of assets, the credit can be claimed over the first three years of the lease.

4.  Application for a tax credit by the asset owner.   To receive the 3.99% income tax credit, the asset owner must submit a Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Asset Transfer Form application to ODA. The asset owner must submit a copy of the qualified beginning farmer's certification certificate with the application, which is available on the ODA website at If ODA approves the application, the Ohio Department of Taxation will issue a tax credit certificate to the asset owner.

It is important for both the beginning farmer and the agricultural asset owner to understand the process for qualifying for the income tax credits the new program offers.  Timing is critical, as the beginning farmer must complete the training and become certified as a qualified beginning farmer before a transfer of agicultural assets occurs.  It's also important for existing asset owners to coordinate program participation with estate and transition plans.  Now is the time to consult with professional advisors and begin planning for program participation for the 2024 tax year. 

Learn more about the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program in our law bulletin, available in the tax law library on and by visiting the ODA's website at

Ohio capitol lit with red and green lights and a lampost wrapped in garland
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Thursday, December 21st, 2023

Written by Ellen Essman, J.D., OSU CFAES Government Relations

Just like there won’t be snow flurries on Christmas this year, there was not a flurry of activity at the Statehouse over the last few months. That being said, we will be carefully following several ag-related bills that progressed in committees but have not yet been passed by the full body, as the calendar turns to 2024. Here’s a summary of the bills we’re watching. 

H.B. 162—Agriculture Designations. H.B. 162 was introduced by Representatives Roy Klopfenstein (R-Haviland) and Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) on May 5, 2023, and was passed by the House in October, and had its first hearing in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on December 5. The bill would designate the following days and weeks to honor Ohio Agriculture:

  • March 21 of each year as “Agriculture day;”
  • The week beginning on the Saturday before the last Saturday of each February through the last Saturday in February as “FFA Week;”
  • October 12 of each year as “Farmer’s Day;” and
  • The week ending with the second Saturday of March as “4-H Week.”

H.B. 347—Farming Equipment Taxes. This bill was introduced by Representative Don Jones (R-Freeport) and referred to the House Ways and Means Committee in early December.  The bill would change the way farmers claim a tax exemption on certain purchases. 

Currently, when an Ohioan engaged in farming, agriculture, horticulture, or floriculture is buying a product for “agricultural use,” they must provide the seller with an exemption certificate. This certificate comes from the Ohio Department of Taxation and relieves the seller of the obligation to collect the sales tax on behalf of the state.  However, the Department of Taxation can later determine that the purchase does not qualify for exemption, and then the farmer would be expected to pay the tax. 

H.B. 347 would slightly alter this current way of doing things when it comes to the purchase of certain vehicles and trailers.  Under the bill, the purchaser could receive an agricultural use exemption for taxes on these vehicles if the purchaser shows the seller copies of the purchaser’s Schedule F—the federal income tax profit of loss from farming form—for three most recent preceding years. Alternatively, a farmer could obtain a certificate from the Department of Taxation verifying that they have filed a Schedule F for three years in lieu of providing the forms directly to the seller.  Notably, the bill states that “no other documentation or explanation shall be required by the vendor or the tax commissioner” to prove that the purchase qualifies for the agricultural use exemption.

The following vehicles and trailers would be included under the bill:

  • Trailers, excluding watercraft trailers;
  • Utility vehicles, (vehicles with a bed, principally for the purpose of transporting material or cargo in connection with construction, agricultural, forestry, grounds maintenance, land and garden, materials handling, or similar activities);
  • All-purpose vehicles, (vehicles designed primarily for cross-country travel on land and water, or on multiple types of terrain, but excluding golf carts);
  • Compact tractors (garden tractors, small utility tractors, and riding mowers).

H.B. 364—Agriculture (seed sharing). House Bill 364 was introduced in the House by representatives Dave Dobos (R-Columbus) and Roy Klopfenstein (R-Haviland) on December 14.  The bill would allow the Ohio Prairie Association to distribute milkweed seeds non-commercially to its members, with the intent of promoting habitats for pollinators like monarch butterflies.

The bill would legally define “non-commercial seed sharing” as the distribution or transfer of ownership of seeds with no compensation or remuneration.  Also included in the definition are a list of situations that are not considered “non-commercial seed sharing,” including when:

  • The seeds are given as compensation of work or services rendered;
  • The seeds are collected outside of Ohio;
  • The seeds are patented, treated, or contain noxious weed species or invasive plants.

H.B. 364 also includes a definition of “seed library,” which it defines as a non-profit, governmental, or cooperative organization or association to which both of the following apply:

  • It is established for the purpose of facilitating the donation, exchange, preservation, and dissemination of seeds among the seed library’s members or the general public.
  • The use, exchange, transfer, or possession of seeds acquired by or from the non-profit governmental, or cooperative organization or association are obtained free of charge.

The bill would further exempt non-commercial seed sharing for the purposes of pollinator conservation, creating and conserving native habitats, and operation of a seed library from labeling, advertising, handling, and sales restrictions under Ohio law.

To further the goal of promoting pollinators and habitats, H.B. 364 would make changes to the requirements for maintaining toll roads, railroads, or electric railways. Current law requires managers of such thoroughfares to destroy a number of noxious weeds along the roadway or in right of ways. The bill would no longer require the destruction of Russian thistle, Canadian thistle, common thistle, wild lettuce, wild mustard, wild parsnip, ragweed, milkweed, or ironweed. 

By: Robert Moore, Friday, December 15th, 2023

Legal Groundwork

Farms are subject to more risks than ever before. Whether it’s the liability exposure of driving equipment on roadways or the potential of property loss due to severe weather, every farm has multiple sources of risk. While farmers can reduce their risk exposure through good business practices and rigorous safety protocols, there is no way to entirely eliminate risks. For this reason, insurance policies that adequately protect against risks are a necessity for farm operations.

All farmers probably know the importance of insurance to protect their livelihood and their farm assets.  However, few farmers take the time to read and understand their insurance policy. The failure to read policies is not a result of apathy but more likely due to the almost unreadable nature of an insurance policy. Reading and understanding an insurance policy is very difficult for anyone other than those in the insurance industry.

The Ohio State University Farm Office in cooperation with the National Agricultural Law Center (NALC) is offering a webinar to help explain farm insurance policies and discuss important provisions to include the policies.  Robert Moore, attorney with OSU’s Agricultural and Resource Law Program, will host the webinar.  He will be joined by Samantha Capaldo and Jeff Lewis.  Samantha is an attorney with NALC and previously worked as an insurance agent.  Jeff is an attorney with OSU’s Farm Tax Program and previously worked in an insurance defense law firm.  Both Samantha and Jeff will provide practical and expert insight on farm insurance policies.  Participants can expect to gain a better understanding of their insurance policies and be better equipped to discuss the needs of their specific farming operation with their insurance agent.

The webcast will be held January 11, 2024, 7:00 – 9:00 EST.  For more information and free registration, visit

Posted In: Business and Financial
Tags: farm insurance
Comments: 0
 Ohio Senate chambers at the Statehouse in Columbus Ohio
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Tuesday, December 12th, 2023

The holiday season isn't distracting the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee from considering three legislative proposals concerning scenic rivers, small beer brewers, and state agriculture day designations.  On December 12, the committee will hear testimony on all three bills.  Here’s a summary of the proposals.

S.B. 156 - Designation of wild, scenic, and recreational rivers.  Senators Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) and Bob Hackett (R-London) introduced this legislation to revise portions of the Ohio Scenic Rivers Program that were raising concerns from private property owners.  The committee will hold its fourth hearing on the bill on December 12.  The proposal makes the following changes to the Ohio Scenic River Law:

  • Clarifies that the designation of a Wild, Scenic or Recreational River does not grant authority to oversee private activities on private property or enter private land within the river area to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), which administers the program. 
  • States that the agency has management and oversight of lands along a designated river only for those lands the state owns.
  • Requires ODNR to adopt rules to govern the use, visitation, and protection of scenic river lands and to establish facilities and improvements within the areas necessary for visitation, use, restoration, and protection of the lands.
  • Clarifies that certain public entities must obtain approval from the ODNR Director to perform certain construction activities within 1,000 feet of a wild, scenic, or recreational river. 
  • Extends the public comment period following the announcement of intent to designate a new river from 30 days to 60 days.

S.B. 138 – Alcohol Franchise Law exemption for small brewers.  This bill introduced by Senator Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware) aims to help small brewers who annually manufacture less than 250,000 barrels (7.75 million gallons) of beer.  The bill exempts small brewers from Ohio’s Alcohol Franchise Law, which requires a beer or wine manufacturer to enter into a franchise agreement with a distributor and lays out requirements for the franchise agreement.  The exemption would allow small brewers to establish agreements with distributors under their own negotiated terms rather than the state-required terms.  S.B. 138 will see its second committee hearing on December 12.

H.B. 162 – Agriculture Appreciation Act.  The House of Representatives passed H.B. 162 in October, and it will have its  second hearing on December 12.  Proposed by Reps. Roy Klopfenstein (R-Haviland) and Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville), the bill designates the following federal agriculture days as state days in Ohio:

  • March 21 of each year as “Agriculture day”;
  • The week beginning on the Saturday before the last Saturday of each February through the last Saturday in February as "FFA Week";
  • October 12 of each year as “Farmer’s Day”;
  • The week ending with the second Saturday of March as “4-H Week.”

Keep up with the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee’s activity on the Ohio Senate’s website at

Ohio statehouse and lawn
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Friday, December 08th, 2023

Responding to concerns about potential increases in Ohio property taxes, the Senate passed House Bill 187 (HB 187) this week to provide some relief from property tax hikes.  That relief, however, affects only the Ohio homestead exemption.  The Senate removed provisions the House had passed in HB 187 offering relief on other property taxes, including Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) taxes.  The House and Senate differences mean the CAUV adjustments originally in HB 187 are currently at a standstill.

House Bill 187.  The House passed its version of HB 187 in October.  The House version included provisions that would temporarily adjust CAUV calculations until 2026.  When updating the CAUV value, a county auditor would be required to use an average of the CAUV formula value for the current year along with CAUV values that would have been assigned in each of the preceding two years, since the last update.  This three year averaging would lower the expected increase in the new CAUV value.  But the Senate drafted and passed a substitute of HB 187, and the substitute bill does not contain the CAUV language. The House and Senate must now confer on its differing versions of HB 187 to work out the differences.

Senate Bill 153.  The Senate isn’t completely ignoring the CAUV adjustments—they exist in another bill.  Senate Bill 153 (SB 153), introduced in the Senate back in September, contains the same CAUV language as HB 187.  The Senate Ways and Means Committee held four hearings on SB 153 in September and October.  But the committee has not taken any action on the bill since the last hearing on October 11.

What’s next for CAUV relief?  There are two avenues to enacting the CAUV three year averaging provisions that could bring some relief from CAUV increases.  First is for the Senate to reinsert the provisions in HB 187.  The second is for the Senate to pass SB 153 and send it over to the House for consideration.  From our view, it’s difficult to gauge if the House and Senate are on the same page for completing either route.

Follow HB 187on the legislature’s website at and track SB 153 at

By: Robert Moore, Tuesday, December 05th, 2023

Legal Groundwork

Second marriages present unique challenges for farm transition planning. This is especially true when the second marriage occurs later in life and the spouses have accrued significant assets and/or have children from prior marriages. The spouses in a second marriage obviously want to help provide for each other but may have a competing interest of providing for their children but not necessarily stepchildren. Without good planning, it is possible that farm assets will end up with a spouse or stepchildren who were not involved in the farming operation.

Farm Transition Planning Strategies for Second Marriages, a new bulletin available at, addresses the two most common sources of risk to farming operations when a second marriage is involved – death and divorce. While these risks cannot be eliminated, there are strategies to help minimize the risks to ensure, as best we can, that farm assets stay with the farm family. The bulletin discusses the strategies and how they can be integrated into a farm transition plan.

Strategies to protect farms from the death of a second spouse mostly involves incorporating a trust in the farm transition plan.  A trust can hold assets for the surviving spouse without giving legal ownership to the spouse.  The trust serves the dual purpose of providing  income and other resources for the surviving spouse while also protecting those assets to ultimately be inherited by the deceased spouse’s heirs.  Trusts are an excellent tool to both provide for spouses and protect assets for future generations.

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be used to reduce the risks of divorce.  These agreements between spouses specifically identify which assets are considered joint, marital assets and which assets are to be considered outside of the marriage.  These designations can help safeguard farm assets by keeping them immune from a division of assets in a divorce.   A recent change in the law allows spouses to enter into such an agreement even after the marriage has occurred.

Any farmers who are in a second marriage should consider including a trust and/or pre/postnuptial agreement into their farm transition plan.  An attorney experienced in farm transition planning can assist with deciding if a trust or marriage agreement is needed and how best to integrate into a farm transition plan.  The Farm Transition Planning Strategies for Second Marriages bulletin provides a detailed discussion of trusts and marriage agreements and their potential impact on farm transition planning.

Combine in a field.
By: Jeffrey K. Lewis, Esq., Friday, December 01st, 2023

Farmer and Farmland Owner Income Tax Webinar
Barry Ward & Jeff Lewis, OSU Income Tax Schools

Are you a farmer or farmland owner wanting to learn more about the recent tax law issues? If so, join us for this webinar on Friday, December 15th, 2023 from 10am to noon. This webinar is a part of our Farm Office Live Series and serves as our Farm Office Live! Webinar for December. To register for this webinar go to:

This webinar will focus on issues related to farmer and farmland owner income tax returns as well as the latest news on CAUV and property taxes in Ohio and the big changes to the Ohio Commercial Activity Tax (CAT). This two-hour program will be presented in a live webinar format via Zoom by OSU Extension Educators Barry Ward, David Marrison and Jeff Lewis along with Purdue faculty member Dr. Michael Langemeier. Individuals who operate farms, own property, or are involved with renting farmland should participate.

Topics to be discussed during this webinar include (subject to change based on tax law change):

  • Economic Outlook 

  • Depreciation Update 

  • Employee vs. Independent Contractor 

  • Corporate Transparency Act/Beneficial Owners Information Reporting

  • 1099-K Changes 

  • Charitable Remainder Trusts 

  • Basis Allocation Land Acquisition – Allocating Basis to Residual Fertility for Future Deductions 

  • Defining Farm Income to Avoid Paying Estimated Tax 

  • Keeping an Eye Forward on Estate/Gift Tax Limitation 

  • Reminder – Keeping an Eye on Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Provisions Sunsetting After 2025 Tax Year

  • Ohio Tax Update (CAUV/Property Tax Update, CAT Changes, Beginning Farmer Tax Credit, Ohio Tax Law Interpretation – Ohio Supreme Court Issues New Ruling)

  • Indiana Tax Update

To register:

For more information, contact Barry Ward at or Jeff Lewis at

Posted In: Tax
Tags: Farm Tax, Ag Tax, Income Tax
Comments: 0