Living & Learning Session Offers Laughs, Legal Insight

There are four P’s of Prosperity. That’s what Susie Oberdahlhoff, comedian and agricultural speaker, told Living & Learning Session attendees at MN Ag Expo Wednesday.

“We need to be proud, be positive, be patient and be persistent,” Oberdahlhoff said. “By taking on these traits, we can get through everything we need to in our line of work and lifestyle.”

Oberdahlhoff, also known as “Susie O”, addressed the group with entertaining farm lifestyle stories and practical advice on how to enjoy life no matter what comes a farmer’s way.

Following Susie O’s lively session, over 60 attendees heard from lawyers about important decisions they need to make for their farm, including the documentation they need to accompany those decisions.

Blethen, Gage and Krause associate lawyer Paul Shneider, partner Benjamin McAninch and partner Chris Roe discussed what they call critical documentation for farm operations.Blethen, Gage & Krause

“Just because you set something up doesn’t mean you’re protected,” Roe said. “So make sure you get help and do it correctly! It will save you money in the long-run.”

Shneider outlined the governing documents for entities, including articles of incorporation/organization, certificate of incorporation/organization, bylaws/operating agreement, corporate minutes, stock/membership certificates and a buy-sell/member control/partnership agreement. Shneider, McAninch and Roe also gave advice on how different business entities can be beneficial or cost a farmer more money.

Following their presentation, Blethen, Gage & Krause’s Beth Serrill, a partner who practices Employment Law and Family Law, highlighted the ins and outs of how farmers can avoid common legal pitfalls when hiring and employing labor.

To round out the session, McAninch and Roe joined Blethen, Gage and Krause lawyer Kevin A. Velasquez in discussing and answering questions on how to wisely handle estate planning and power of attorney issues that may come up.

Their advice: communication and documentation is key to a successful plan and keeping the farm safe long-term, especially for farmers who want to keep their farm in the family for years to come.

The Living and Learning session was a non-delegate session held at MN Ag Expo during the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and Minnesota Corn Growers Association delegate sessions. It offered Expo attendees not representing their counties as delegates the opportunity to ask key farm business questions and gain legal insight on documentation and processes that are important to protect their farms.