Labor Series: Pt 2 ~ How to Survive Labor Audits & Avoid Big Fines ~ Tips from Paul Underhill & Veronica Guinto

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A farm worker picks through sweet potatoes near Turlock, CA. Photo credit: The Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer

Today, our Labor & Worker Safety series continues with tips from Paul Underhill, of Terra Firma Farm, and Veronica Guinto, an immigration lawyer based in the Bay Area. We recently heard them both speak at the CA Small Farm Conference, where Paul described his personal experience with a labor audit that cost him nearly $100,000, and Veronica offered the legal perspective of how to classify your employees and avoid extremely costly audits.

Many small farmers have been operating the same labor systems for many years, and don’t know they are doing anything wrong! Read these tips, many gleaned from the very comprehensive CA Guide to Labor Laws for Small Farmers, to evaluate the legality of your own systems, and ask yourself, are they up to date? Are you keeping proper records? Are your employees happy?

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Microloan Options for Small Farms ~ Recap from the CA Small Farm Conference

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Last week the 27th California Small Farm Conference took place in Rohnert Park, about an hour north of San Francisco. You never know exactly what to expect at this annual event, since it moves across California each year and offers ever-changing workshops designed with the help of each region’s local agriculture organizations.

This year the Workshops were organized into some hot topics (Emerging Issues, Production, Farm Management, Marketing, and Farmers Markets), and were chock full of some really valuable, practical content. It was a welcome problem not being able to decide which ones to attend!

We co-hosted one session on Crowd-Sourcing & Community Sharing, where FarmsReach, The Farmers Guild, CropMobster and Farm Hack Davis joined forces for an interesting discussion on the power of collaboration within the food and farming community.

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