[Market-farming] Federal Department of Labor stopped by to look around...

Richard Stewart rstewart at zoomtown.com
Tue Jun 14 06:54:37 EDT 2011

We received a visit from the Federal Department of Labor twice the past week.  CSAs are a real grey area for them.  While w do special single day events where we let children participate we have a no children policy in terms of work for the adults bring children with them.  They can accompany the adult so long as they do not damage crops or prevent the volunteer from working and we have a play area for them as well.

The fact that there were children even around sort of of freaked out the Federal agents.  They were hammering down on child labor, those that knowingly employee illegal immigrants, and those that abuse legal documented visa holders.  While we do not sell across State lines we do do a single once a year market in Kentucky AND we sell to companies whose headquarters are not in the State of Ohio and as a result are subject to interstate commerce.

Lots of this may be obvious to a lot of folks, but it came as a bit of surprise to me.  I felt that were fairly under the radar, but after asking they told us that they were targeting farms close to border areas (State boundaries) and we are mile from Kentucky and Indiana.

Just keep that in mind.  Super family friendly Workshare CSA arrangements, especially if someone in the group is from out of State or you receive ANY income from out of State sales or receive payment from out of state can put you at risk.  Make sure you have clearly defined and posted rules, that everyone knows these rules, and that your employees and contractors.  Again many of you might be saying "duh, of course" but as we have grown this is simply not something we have thought about.  We just sort of do a 1099 and add someone, work it out tweak things and then move them on as an employee once we get everything figured out.  Its been family up till last year....even then they are telling us my 15 year old cousin cannot operate a tractor over 20HP with a power take off or work our Bobcat.

Just some things I thought I would share.


Richard Stewart
Carriage House Farm
North Bend, Ohio

An Ohio Century Farm Est. 1855

(513) 967-1106
rstewart at zoomtown.com

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