[Market-farming] to hire, or not to hire?

Andy Fellenz artisanfarms at gmail.com
Wed Dec 26 17:36:33 EST 2012


The Ag limit for the unemployment insurance exemption in NY is
$20,000/quarter, not per year, so unless you are paying your crew much more
than market wages, you shouldn't have to worry about exceeding the limit.

>From the NY State Department of Labor site, (
http://www.labor.state.ny.us/ui/dande/whoisemployer.shtm )
Liability under U.I. Law

Employers of agricultural labor are liable as of:

   - The first day of the calendar year in which you employ 10 or more
   workers in agricultural labor on at least one day in each of 20 different
   weeks (during that year or the prior year) or
   - The first day of the calendar quarter in which you pay cash
   remuneration of $20,000 or more to workers you employ in agricultural labor
   - The first day of the calendar quarter in which you pay any
   remuneration to workers you employ in agricultural labor, if they are
   liable under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) with respect to farm


On Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 4:05 PM, Beth Spaugh <lists at rhomestead.com> wrote:

> ** ** ** **
> I struggle with having help.  I definitely need it.  I know folks who hire
> local people part-time, and want to find one or two of those.  So far I
> have gone with several college students part-time, but they come and go,
> are not used to field work, and I still need them in late August and
> September.  I planned to have one full-time person and one good part-time
> person (who had worked the previous summer part-time too).  The full-time
> person backed out at the last minute and I never got a good replacement.
> The part-time person had very serious health issues this year and couldn’t
> work.  Fortunately I teacher/CSA member worked two days a week washing and
> packing, and another CSA person volunteered one afternoon a week. Having
> part-time folks who come and go results in me not training them for good
> jobs, so stick them with jobs I think they can’t mess up, i.e. weeding,
> which they don’t like.  I don’t mind weeding, but hate washing and packing.
> ****
> ** **
> My plan for this year is to have two part-time plus one full-time OR 4
> part-time.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday they will wash and pack.  If someone
> wants full-time and/or wants to learn organic gardening, then that person
> will help with field work.  All will probably help with early planting
> (which they also don’t like), and I may train one to do seeding.****
> ** **
> My biggest need is probably help with sales, but I really want to stay
> under the $20,0000 ag employment limit to avoid unemployment, disability,
> etc (do have workers comp), Ag employees can wash, pack, and deliver, but
> not do any retail sales work, or you lose the nice exemptions, at least in
> ****New York****.  This many be penny foolish of me – I don’t know yet.
> But when I inquired about offering unemployment they said I would have to
> continue to pay unemployment for three years after the employees moved on,
> and that sounds intimidating.****
> ** **
> Perhaps you can each be independent businesses, or she can be a
> subcontractor.  If she wants to do a farmers market, let her supply all the
> equipment, transport, etc so she qualifies as an independent contractor.
> Or , if you market allows, just let her buy your stuff wholesale and sell
> it at the market.  If there are additional specific things she could
> subcontract to do, such as seeding plug trays at her place and delivering
> them to you ready to go.  Or if she sub-contracted to keep weeds under
> control. Etc.****
> ** **
> Beth Spaugh****
> ****Rehoboth Homestead**, **Peru**** NY****
> http://rhomestead.com      http://www.facebook.com/rhomestead****
>  ****
> "How we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used."
> - Wendell Berry****
> "Without power over our food, any notion of democracy is empty." - Frances
> Moore Lappe****
> It's not that nice guys finish last. They have a whole different notion
> where the finish line is. - unknown****
>  ****
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