Farm Employment Legal News

The great resource, FarmCommons.org, recently released some updates on the latest on farm employment law.  We will continue to share these updates with you as we get them!

Farm Employment Laws: Changing faster than the weather

FC_3in-icon_employees 2Connecticut doubles penalty for underpayment of wages. Legislators in Connecticut recently passed a bill that allows underpaid workers to sue employers for twice the amount of their underpaid wages. The double-wage penalty is available if an employer didn’t take any proactive steps to determine how much they were legally obligated to pay their employees. The new, higher penalty is meant to motivate businesses to look into the law: ignorance isn’t bliss anymore!

Federal judge overturns internship ruling. Determining whether your intern is a regular employee or not for the purposes of minimum wage law just got even more complicated. In recent webinars, I mentioned a federal court ruling that found an intern who was enrolled in school and receiving credit for the position was an employee and deserving of the minimum wage. That decision was overturned on appeal in July because the judge felt the lower court was too deferential to the federal government’s argument. Now, that doesn’t mean farmers are safe as long as their intern is receiving college credit. But…they might be safer than they were last month. The plot thickens, as more cases and appeals are likely.

Paula’s Garden & River Road Farm Tours!

Thanks for sending your interns and/or coming to our field day last week at Paula’s Garden! The family gave us a great tour of the different operations on the farm, and Paula gave us a fascinating explanation on making bouquets and marketing flowers. We also enjoyed a delicious potluck with great food and corn from the farm!
 
With 21 attendees, we had a large and diverse group including interns from Deluge Farm, Mill Crick Farm, PEAS Farm, and more.

Every attendee said their knowledge of how a family farm is operated and the market opportunities for flowers improved!  One attendee noted, “Learning about such a creative, diversified business gave me new ideas and inspiration for the kind of business I’d like to have in the future.  That’s great news!

Up Next! 
Field Day at River Road Farm in Missoula!

Wednesday, August 19th from 3pm-6pmfollowed by a potluck dinner

River Road Community Garden and Neighborhood Farm is one of four urban farms managed by Garden City Harvest.  Established in 1996, River Road sits on 3.5 acres and includes 55 community garden plots and a farm that offers 15 winter CSA shares and 64 summer CSA shares and raises 4,000-6,000 pounds of produce annually for the Poverello Center.  Because many farmers are considering forming as nonprofits, farm manager Greg Price will talk about the unique benefits and drawbacks of farming as a nonprofit, along with a discussion of the ins and outs of managing a large CSA program, and his seed saving, cover cropping and weed and pest management techniques. For more info on River Road Farm, click here.

Please register at least 3-4 days in advance (by August 15th) so we can give Greg and his crew a sense of what to expect.
It really helps us prepare to know how many people are coming!

Seeking Website Developer

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP)

NEW FARMLINK WEBSITE WITH MAPPING TOOL             

Submission Date:     July 31, 2015

Submission Time:     5:00pm (MST)

Project Overview

The Community Food and Agriculture Coalition (CFAC), a multi-stakeholder food policy coalition in Missoula, Montana, is accepting proposals to develop a new website for its beginning farmer program. The FarmLink website will serve as a clearinghouse for beginning farmers and ranchers in Montana. It will include information on available resources including new materials on business planning, financing, and legal issues, five online application forms for two programs (for mentors, interns, intern hosts, land seekers, and landowners), and a statewide mapping tool to connect farmers and landowners with those seeking internships, mentorships and land lease/purchase opportunities.

This project is funded by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) USDA grant. We are seeking proposals from a web designer or design firm able to develop a website that addresses the objectives and functionality requirements listed in this RFP.

About CFAC

CFAC works to create a thriving local food system for Montana by pursuing solutions through collaboration, policy advocacy, and innovative projects. Currently, CFAC partners with Farm Hands (www.nourishtheflathead.org) to operate the LandLink Montana site, a matching service that connects farmers and ranchers to land and resources. CFAC is developing a new website to expand the LandLink program to include an information clearinghouse, an internship program that connects internship seekers with farm and ranch hosts, and a mentorship program to connect beginning farmers with mentors.

Purpose

The purpose of this new website is to provide an online resource that will serve as a one-stop shop for beginning farmers and ranchers. The site will include several resources with information on financing, business planning, and more. The site will also include a log-in area with multiple online application forms and a statewide mapping tool with filters and keyword search. CFAC is seeking the services of a qualified web designer or design firm to submit proposals for the creation of this website. Upon completion of the development of the site, CFAC will assume full responsibility for website content maintenance and administration.

Website Objectives and Functionality Requirements

CFAC expects that the following objectives and functionality components will be included in a successful proposal:

  1. A content management system (CMS) that will permit non-technical CFAC staff to instantly update website content on specific pages
  2. All elements of the site should be able to be easily maintained, updated, new pages added, etc. by non-technical CFAC staff after site launch. If using a CMS other than Joomla, this may require some time (2-3 hours) for staff training on site utilization.
  3. Visually appealing – the site must have an attractive mix of text and graphics
  4. Interactive map with key features
    • Ability to  zoom in only to a certain level on map
    • Listing pins on map with ability to be different images/icons
    • Listing pins should have a pop-up window with information that appears when pin is clicked
    • Pop-up windows will have a clickable link that directs user to detailed listing on website or to an offsite listing
    • Search tool with the ability to keyword search,  filter, and sort by different categories
    • For similar examples, visit:
    • Note: While the above links are only for LandLink programs, we would like our map to have the ability to turn on/off layers with land, internship, and mentorship opportunities. Each layer would likely have different filters.
  5. Online application and listing feature
    • Users will be able to log in to the back end of the site to submit applications to the Internship, Mentorship, and LandLink programs (5 application forms total for mentors, interns, intern hosts, land seekers, and landowners)
    • When intern host and land seeker applications are submitted, users will be directed to a payment page.
    • Once submitted, applications will be put into accessible and exportable database
    • CFAC will be notified when applications are submitted and will be able to approve creation of an online listing that will automatically populate a unique URL with listing info and a map pin for the specific program
    • Once created, users and CFAC will be able to log in to update listings and make listings active/inactive
    • CFAC will be notified whenever listings are modified (preferably with modification text in the body of the notification email and/or a direct link to the listing)
    • Site will send notification emails to listing holders to update listings semi-annually, annually, or more often as determined by CFAC
      • Notifications will be automatic or manual
      • Notices will be sent to CFAC staff in a weekly digest
    • Some people who create profiles/listings are likely to not have access to email. It would be great for the site to have ability to send out text or SMS messages for people who do not have email.
    • CFAC will be notified via email when contacts (email or SMS) bounce.
    • CFAC will be notified via email if updates are due on listings that lack an email/SMS contact so that staff can follow up by phone.
    • If listings are not updated within 30-45 days of notification, CFAC will be notified via email so listings can be made inactive.
    • Listings will have permanent URLs, enabling users to share their listing with different sources
  6. Sponsored advertising
    • Sponsors’ logos must be integrated into homepage
    • Overhead banner with rotating sponsors
    • Open to other ideas from web developer about how to integrate sponsors into site
  7. Implementation of a “mobile ready” website
  8. Highly Search Engine Optimized
  9. Implementation of Google Analytics throughout the site

Website Wish List

  1. Anonymized emails
    • For Landlink postings, have Craiglist-style emails with anonymized email addresses
    • CFAC will be able to track who is sending emails based on an internal tracking system
  2. Rating System
    • Have a Yelp-like rating system that allows users to post star ratings and comments on internships
    • Farm hosts will have the ability to dispute and respond to ratings and comments

Site Layout

Homepage with Potential Tab and Pull-down categories to be featured:

  1. About FarmLink
    • Mission
    • Staff
    • Contact
  2. Intern Program
    • Program Information
    • Application (link to log-in and direction to application form)
  3. Land Link Program
    • Program Information
    • Application (link to log-in and direction to application form)
  4. Mentor Program
    • Program Information
    • Application (link to log-in and direction to application form)
  5. Mapping Tool
    • See above for details
  6. Resources
    • Section will include up to 20 pages on different types of resources
    • Section will include a sidebar with expandable topics that include various subheadings and is included on each page in the Resources section (for an example, see: http://tinyurl.com/ok66qln)
    • Full page content to be developed Fall 2015

Ecommerce Details

CFAC uses eTapestry for ecommerce. This platform will be used to accept payment on the new website.  CFAC will provide permanent URLs to payment forms that CFAC will develop through eTapestry.

Budget Details

Please provide a cost proposal to accomplish the scope of this project. The budget must encompass all design, production, software acquisitions, and CFAC staff training necessary for development and maintenance of the website. CFAC will purchase the URL in advance.

List pricing for: Site Development, Testing, Deployment, and Training.

CFAC has up to $15,000 to fund this web development project.  Applicant must be eligible to receive federal funds.

Proposal Requirements

Please submit proposal via email in a PDF format that includes the following:

  1. Summarize your project approach for developing the FarmLink website.
  2. Include a proposed project schedule and information on staff committed to this project to ensure that project schedule will be met.
  3. Provide the costs for services. Please include how many hours of time the proposal includes for each part of the project.
  4. Provide links to similar projects you have completed in the past.  References and contact information are appreciated.

We are open to suggestions about ways to accomplish these plans and hope that you can be flexible as we navigate web development.

Proposal Evaluation

Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Cost for services
  2. Product details
  3. Previous  experience
  4. Long-term plan (ease of maintenance, training plans, etc.)
  5. Timeline

RFP & Project Timeline Details

RFP Timeline

Release Date             June 16, 2015

Submissions of questions     July 1, 2015

Answers emailed to bidders    July 15, 2015

Proposal Due Date        July 31, 2015, 5pm MST

Project Timeline

Hire date             August 15, 2015

Website launch            November 15, 2015

Questions and Proposal Submissions   
Questions may be directed to Annie Heuscher, CFAC Program Director, at (406) 830-8218 or annie@missoulacfac.org. Please submit proposals to annie@missoulacfac.org by 5:00 pm MST on Friday, July 31, 2015.

Paid Fall Internship at CFAC

Want to help Montana’s beginning farmers grow successful, sustainable businesses?  Want to learn about how to develop new resources, plan educational opportunities, host events, and evaluate programs?  CFAC is looking for an intern for this fall to assist with a range of projects, including:

  • Developing new resources and creating content for a new statewide online clearinghouse with a wide array of information on marketing, financing, and other business management topics for farmers and ranchers
  • Planning and promoting a farmer-led, on-farm, field day geared towards farm interns and new farmers in September
  • Planning a train-the-trainer event for Small Business Development Center staff and Extension agents from around the state to build expertise on providing assistance to beginning commercial farmers
  • Planning and promoting a series of business-oriented workshops for farmers in the Missoula region (workshops will be held in Spring 2016, but planning will take place in Fall 2015)
  • Working with a range of partners to develop tools to connect farm and food businesses with investors in Western Montana, including planning the kickoff of the Slow Money Montana group
  • Collecting stories from farmers and developing case studies on marketing, financial management, and farm decision-making for use in a statewide business planning curriculum
  • Evaluating our 2015 beginning farmer programming, including online and phone outreach and surveys to beginning farmers and program participants

Note: you will not be expected to lead these projects, but will have the opportunity to assist in development and management as appropriate. As an intern, you will have the opportunity to assist with multiple projects.  We can offer a $1,000 stipend to applicants able to offer 6-10 hours/week between September and December.

To apply, email annie@missoulacfac.org with your resume and a note on the project(s) in which you’re interested and any additional relevant information not covered in your resume.  We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis with a planned intern start date of September 1st.

Great Field Day at Lifeline Produce

Thanks so much for sending your interns and/or coming to our field day last week at Lifeline Produce in Victor! During a fascinating tour of the farm, we learned about Steve and Luci’s crop rotation system and use of specialized farm tools. And we got to enjoy a delicious potluck after the tour!
 

With 28 attendees, we had a large and diverse group including interns from other farms in the area and a handful of people from the FVCC Integrated Agriculture & Food Systems Program up in the Flathead.
 

Nearly all of the attendees said their knowledge of crop rotation methods and specialized farm implements improved!  One attendee noted that it was valuable “seeing systems other than what I am used to and learning the variety of methods used.”  Another attendee enjoyed getting a total picture of how good, organic food is produced.” That’s what we like to hear!

Up Next!  Field Day at Paula’s Garden in Paradise!
Wednesday, July 15th from 10am – 12pmfollowed by a potluck lunch
Paula’s Garden is located on the site of Paradise Gardens, a family farm with three distinct businesses raising everything from melons to peppers to lavender for all types of wholesale and direct markets. Paula started raising flowers and other crops twenty years ago and has found a market so large she can’t fill it!  She’s on a mission to share with other farmers the joys of growing flowers as supplemental or winter income projects and the ways she’s used flowers to create a life she loves. She’ll be telling us all about her flowers and the market opportunities that exist for these high-value crops. Along with learning about the geology of the area, we will also see the two other farm operations on the property and hear about how a family farm is operated. For more info on Paula’s Garden, check out her Etsy page.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.