Beth Bechdol and I participated in Farm Journal's Top Producer Summer Seminar in Moline, Ill on June 7-8, 2011. The audience of 130 was mostly commercial, full-time farmers from across the country (mostly from the Midwest).
I led a breakout session on agricultural legal "pitfalls" and focused primarily on critical environmental regulatory issues for agriculture. I also spent time describing more positive opportunities for producers with on-farm alternative energy projects, including wind, solar, biomass and others. The PowerPoint presentation from the session is available below for reference. The discussion on enhanced regulatory scrutiny of the agriculture industry was timely, as news sources reported today that Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns, speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate, has questioned the sincerity of the Environmental Protection Agency over a campaign the Senator is calling EPA's "Charm Offensive." According to Johanns, as reported by Hoosier Ag Today, "the problem is what the EPA is selling publicly to farmers and ranchers just doesn't match up with reality. They say one thing on the road while the regulatory train just continues to barrel forward in Washington."
The overall themes of the conference sessions centered on how farmers should plan for the future - whether it be in business management, risk management, commodity marketing, access to credit and financing, regulatory compliance, or estate and succession planning. It was clear from our conversations with producers that estate planning and corporate and tax restructuring are front of mind and can be seen as overwhelming efforts. This is something we hear frequently from our clients as well. For more details please visit the firm's farm restructuring and estate planning services web site.
We look forward to being a part of future Farm Journal events and conferences. After 135 years of providing quality information to farmers, they clearly know and appreciate the issues most critical to success in farming.
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