Are You Collecting Sales Tax?

On September 21 the Times Argus printed an article called “Farmers, Vendors Face Back Sales Tax” It is important to understand that there are times when farms are exempt from sales tax and there are times when a farm is required to collect or pay sales taxes. This applies to the sale of farm products and in the case of the Time Argus article it applies to the purchase of equipment. Getting a bill or penalty to pay back taxes is not likely in your budget, so let’s avoid any surprises.

Farmers selling products direct to end users on-farm or at farmers markets must understand which exemptions do or don’t apply to them. Click this link to a fact sheet from NOFA VT, page 4 describes tax regulations related to farmers market sales.

http://nofavt.org/sites/default/files/Regulations%20for%20FM%20Vendors.pdf

Prepared Foods, Crafts (ie Wool), Beverages are generally taxable. In certain states, edible flowers are not taxable but cut flowers/ornamentals (dried corn/gourds) are taxable. Consult your state department of taxes to determine if any of your “non-food” products are taxable (lumber, christmas trees, nursery plants, dried flowers ?)

Posted in Financial Mgmt | Tagged

Growing Places Early Registration Deadline

Growing Places for new and aspiring farmers!

Are you considering starting an agriculture or natural resource based business, but are unsure where to start. Growing Places is designed to help participants develop a comprehensive goal statement which will help in the business planning process, explore and evaluate opportunities and resources and develop familiarity with state and federal agriculture programs

Each class addresses a different aspect of business development and is taught by experts who will give depth to the discussion with hands-on exercises. Guest speakers share their experiences with the group to offer a real-life perspective. Visit Growing Places class information to learn more, or contact Heidi Krantz 802-223-2389 x 203 heidi.krantz.1@uvm.edu

Fall 2014 In Person Session

Dates: Thursday s, 5:30- 8:30 pm October 2, 9, 1 6 & 23 in Berlin, VT
Early registration: $1 1 0; Deadline: September 1 4, 201 4
Standard registration: $1 50; Deadline: September 25, 201 5.
Registrations received after S eptember 25 will be subject to a $50 late fee.
Winter 2015 Online Session

Dates: Jan 1 2- Feb 9, 201 4
Early registration: $1 1 0; Deadline: Dec. 1 , 201 4
Standard registration: $1 50; Deadline: Dec. 21 , 201 4.
Registrations received after Dec. 21 will be subject to a $50 late fee.

Posted in New Farmer Events, Resources for Beginning Farmers

Farm Insurance

New Picture-jpgThinking about farm insurance is often an easy topic to put to the side and try to remember to think about sometime next week. The main purpose of any insurance is to protection from a catastrophic financial loss.

Risk and insurance are pretty closely tied together. Insurance is one way to handle some of the different risks that we face. There are 5 different ways to handle risk.

  1. Control the risk. Wearing seatbelts is a way to control the risk of physical injury in a car crash.
  2. Avoid the risk. I am tempted to not grow sweet corn in my garden next year because of skunks and coons.
  3. Retain the risk. Even though there is a possibility of a chimney fire, I continue to burn wood, but I burn dry wood, clean the chimney each summer, and keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
  4. Transfer the risk. This is insurance, we pay them to handle our risk.
  5. Ignore the risk. Commonly done, but often not the best strategy.

After a loss, there may be several costs. The cost to replace the damaged property. The loss of use of the property which results in extra expense and lost income. There may be lawsuits from injured people. Then there could be medical bills, or even disability or death.

Farmowners insurance policies are a combination of several different kinds of insurance: personal, commercial, property, loss of use, income and extra expense, and liability. The cost of a policy depends on location, value of buildings, equipment- production and processing, size of operation, liability limits for injuries on the farm and product liability, and more.

Homeowners insurance policies do not cover selling products. Some companies offer ‘small farm’ policies that may provide the coverage that you need.

How much insurance do you need? Talking with an insurance agent can give you an idea of what risks your business faces. If you are selling food products to the public, you need to have some product liability insurance. Unless you have nothing to lose. Which slot machine do you play? $10? $5? $1? 25¢?

Posted in Financial Mgmt | 1 Comment

Get Your Farm Off to the Right Start

Are you considering starting an agriculture or natural resource-based business, but are unsure where to start?

IMG_1246The New Farmer Project’s Growing Places course will help you explore an evaluate your options and learn about opportunities and resources. Offered both in-person (in October) and online (January 2015), Growing Places introduces participants to the goal-setting, resource assessment, marketing, and financial basics that are at the heart of successful and sustainable farm businesses.

“Growing Places gave me a good foundation for my business,” says one 2013 graduate, “and a lot of inspiration about how to think outside the box.” Continue reading

Posted in New Farmer Events, Resources for Beginning Farmers

End of Summer Business Review: Are You Using SMART Goals?

Listening to the crickets and watching the meteor showers reminds me that summer is winding down. It also is a trigger to dig out the business plan and take a look at where I am as the end of the “third quarter” approaches. Why not grab your business plan and join me to reflect on the business goals we wrote for the year – goals that are SMART:

Weather Vane with Dollar SignSpecific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

Continue reading

Posted in Goals