When is a Farmer Not a Farmer? Tax Court Case Highlights Complexity in Federal Tax Law

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Maryland farmland in Talbot County image by Chesapeake Bay Program via Flickr.com

This post is not legal advice

A group of Maryland farmers recently learned an important lesson, sometimes how a federal tax law defines a “farmer” can have large impacts. Brothers donated a conservation easement on a farm, then sold the property. The brothers then claimed the donation on their taxes. The tax court ruled that the brothers did not qualify as “qualified farmers” who could deduct 100 percent of the contribution because their gross incomes from the farm were less than 50 percent of their total gross incomes. The sale of farmland and the sale of the conservation easement did not count as an activity included in the business of farming. The brothers were limited to a 50 percent of the charitable contribution for the conservation easement. Continue reading

USDA Releases 2017 Cash Rent Averages for Maryland and Delaware

 

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Photo of barn at Friendship Farm Park in Charles County MD by Scrawl Design

 

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) updated data on cash rent paid by farmers in 2017. NASS collects this data from 240,000 farms across the United States annually through the Cash Rent Survey – data used by other agencies throughout USDA. The survey results can also give us an idea of what other tenants in the area may be paying per acre for farmland. Continue reading

Arkansas Producers File Class Action Lawsuit Related to Dicamba Drift Damage

 

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Sprayer in field by the United Soybean Board.

2016 and 2017 have seen large numbers of complaints filed of drift damage in the Midwest and South. The drift damage is due to dicamba application on new Monsanto varieties of cotton and soybeans that allow for over-the-top applications of dicamba. I’ve written earlier about a dicamba drift class action lawsuit filed in Missouri, but a recently filed one in the Eastern Federal District of Missouri. The new class action is being brought by a group of Arkansas farmers who planted older varieties of soybean and cotton that was not resistant to dicamba. Continue reading