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Secure your farm's security by knowing your legal rights

URBANA, Ill. – Legal risks can be fatal to a farm business. Understanding legal issues can dispel anxiety and help farmers realize their power to control their circumstances.

University of Illinois Extension partners with Farm Commons for a four-part series on legal issues for farms.

"Every farm or ranch no matter its size, location, or longevity is in a great position to build resilience," says Kathryn Pereira, Illinois Extension local foods system small farms educator.

Farm Commons is a nonprofit organization that assists farmers to solve their own business law challenges in a community of support. Farm Commons Executive Director Rachel Armstrong will provide the interactive workshops, including time for questions from participants. 

As the founder and executive director of Farm Commons, Rachel Armstrong leads workshops for farmers nationwide and created the organization’s innovative approach to farm law risk reduction. She has authored publications on farm law matters for farmers, alongside several academic and trade publications for attorneys.

The four workshops include:

5 Steps to Protect Your Farm on April 25.
Are there a few, key steps that provide a big impact when it comes to the farm or ranch’s protection from legal risks? We’re so glad you asked! Yes, there are and every farm or ranch no matter its size, location, or longevity is in a great position to build resilience. Join Farm Commons for a webinar that will build knowledge and confidence around essential farm law issues. Register at

Land Leasing Basics on July 25
Leasing farmland is so commonplace that landowners, farmers, and ranchers may not think twice about the lease itself until things go wrong. Prevent problems with a strong lease while building a path to a resilient future. This online workshop will help you understand what a lease should include and how to put it in writing. Get started with the tools, knowledge, and skills you need to create a strong document that works for your needs, whether you are a landowner, rancher, or farmer. Register at

Business Structure Basics on Oct. 24
Choosing the right business structure for a farm or ranch business shouldn’t be hard. In this webinar, producers will learn how to apply straightforward decision-making factors to your situation. We’ll walk through the tax advantages and business practices that make the most of your choice. A focus on preventing problems with good governance means whether you are just starting out or you’ve been on the land for a few decades, this webinar will help you chart next steps. Register at

Farm Liability and Insurance Basics on Jan. 23
If there’s one legal subject that tends to keep farmers and ranchers up at night, it’s liability and insurance issues. Get answers to these important questions in this webinar. We’ll discuss the essential points of liability and property insurance that every producer needs. Learn how to get the information you need to sleep well at night. Register at

If you will need an accommodation in order to participate, please email Kathryn Pereira at Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet access needs. Each session begins at 7 p.m. and lasts for one hour.

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.

ABOUT FARM COMMONS: Farm Commons is a national nonprofit organization specializing in legal education for farmers. Our mission is to empower farmers to resolve their own business law issues within an ecosystem of support. Through education, leadership development and community-based problem solving around business law, agricultural communities become stronger and more resilient. The result is a legacy of sustainable farms and a community-based food system for everyone. At Farm Commons, paperwork is powerful.

WRITER: Judy Mae Bingman, Illinois Extension Marketing and Communications Manager
SOURCE: Kathryn Pereira, Illinois Extension Local Foods System Small Farms Educator.