Skip to main content

2024 Director Election Vote Now > | Access your account online with Digital Banking Learn More >



Episode 47: Navigating Farm Accidents: First Steps to Take with Ryan Conklin

 From forgetting to shut the gate to more serious situations like barn fires, accidents happen on the farm. In a recent podcast episode, host Libby Wixtead and attorney Ryan Conklin discuss the critical first steps to take in the event of a farm accident. 

 First Steps

Drawing from his expertise, Ryan emphasizes the immediate need for documentation. “Once you get past that initial shock that comes with the farm accident, from a legal standpoint, what we’re looking for is how are we documenting that incident?” Whether it’s a road-based mishap or an equipment-related incident, thorough documentation is key. 

However, Ryan stresses that human safety should be the top priority after any accident occurs. In the face of injuries, aiding those in need should come first – then, documentation.

Ryan suggests capturing as much information as possible at the scene. “Whatever you can write down, whatever you can take pictures of, whatever you can document there onsite. That’s important for any potential insurance issues or any future legal issues.” 

Aside from documentation, Ryan cautions that “what you say and what you do after an accident, is all discoverable information as part of any legal proceeding.” Thoughtful communication post-accident is key considering its potential impact on a case. 

Another crucial step following a farm accident is to contact your insurance agent. “One of the first people you want to notify is your insurance agent to see if there are any claims to file for property damage or if there’s any personal injury,” Ryan explains. 

 Livestock Houdinis

When it comes to farm accidents, livestock running at large is another critical topic. Be it cattle or hogs, when livestock are loose, they pose a liability. 

Ryan refers to these cases as the “legal unicorns in agriculture.” He explains the dual factors involved in analyzing these situations: the presence of a criminal issue or a civil issue. Particularly, the type of enclosure used for livestock becomes considerable, with Ryan emphasizing the importance of proper fencing and maintenance. He notes that consistent poor practices could lead to criminal cases. 

 “On the civil side, if you have cattle or hogs or animals that get out and somebody hits them on the road or there’s an accident, then we’re looking at civil analysis there.” 

 Taking a Proactive Approach

Accidents on the farm are an unfortunate reality, and Ryan encourages farmers to be proactive in their approach to farm accidents and stresses the importance of having a plan in place. 

Legal advisors, accountants, financial advisors, lenders, and insurance professionals serve as effective “fire alarms” rather than “fire extinguishers.” Waiting until an accident occurs to address these matters might be too late. “When you are in the midst of a farm accident, that is not the time to be saying, ‘Okay, I think it’s time that I got around to doing this,” Ryan explains. 

Ryan recommends establishing a plan well in advance, not only for succession but also for business continuity. Having a decision-maker, knowing the location of important documents, and understanding the finances of the operation are essential. The goal is to ensure that the farm can continue operating seamlessly in the event of an unexpected accident or tragedy. 

 Building Strong Relationships

Relationships with professional professional advisors are important, especially in the adversity of a farm accident. Referring to them as a “board of directors for the farm,” Ryan emphasizes establishing connections with lenders, attorneys, accountants, and insurance agents. 

 “Those kinds of strong relationships are areas that help you plan for multiple generations down and help family absorb any of those accidents or any of those issues that can come their way.” 

 Having a well-thought-out plan and strong relationships can provide farmers with what Ryan notes as a competitive edge. “Everybody’s looking for that competitive edge on their farm, and I truly think that’s your competitive edge, having that board of directors.” 

 In essence, the first steps taken in the aftermath of any farm accident, coupled with a proactive approach, can significantly impact both the safety of the individuals involved and the legal outcomes that follow.

 Here’s a glance at this episode:

  • [02:16] Ryan introduces himself and his background in agriculture. 

  • [04:48] Ryan discusses the first steps to take after a farm accident occurs. 

  • [06:23] Ryan explains why what you say and what you do after an accident matters. 

  • [08:37] Discussing livestock animals, Ryan shares what situations might constitute liability. 

  • [12:33] In the event of a farm accident, Ryan highlights the importance of having a continuity plan. 

  • [15:49] Ryan shares the benefits of establishing proactive relationships with professional advisors.

  • [27:04] Ryan gives advice to young beginning farmers. 

  • [29:26] Ryan explains what farmers need to know about the new Ohio law concerning farm leases and why having a written lease is critical.


Connect with AgCredit on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Share questions and topic ideas with us:


Voiceover (00:08):Welcome to AgCredit Said It. In each episode, our hosts sit down with experts from all parts of the agriculture industry to bring you insights and must have information on all things from farming to finances and everything in between.

Ryan Conklin (00:26):Yeah. Libby, before we get started real quick have to give my mandatory disclaimer as an attorney. I'm giving the answers to Libby's questions based exclusively on my knowledge of Ohio law and as an Ohio attorney. If you're listening from out of state or out of the country, international listeners are possible, please consult local counsel for yourself, make sure that that you're complying with your own state laws, and then also for even the Ohio listeners please make sure you have your own legal counsel in place to determine if these answers are the best course of action for your family and your farm.

Libby Wixtead (01:08):Welcome back to season three of AgCredit Said It. Today we are talking about the unfortunate event of a farm accident that could happen on anyone's farm and what the steps are that family members should consider. Today I am happy to have Ryan Conklin with us, who is the owner and attorney from Wright & Moore law firm located here in Delaware. We are super excited because we are here in their new office, which is... If you guys know where they are in Delaware, it's just right across the street from their old office. It is beautiful. It's awesome. Welcome, Ryan.

Ryan Conklin (01:44):Yeah. Thanks, Libby. I'm glad to be on AgCredit Said It. Also, I have to give my thanks to AgCredit for financing our construction loan here, so glad to be a member and also a guest on the podcast.

Libby Wixtead (02:00):Yes. This is exciting. Are you happy to be done with construction?


Ryan Conklin (02:01):Oh, yes. It has been like a second job here for the last nine months or so. Really, really thrilled to be in our space, getting settled, getting unpacked, and then we'll take a few more weeks, get everything in good position, but in November we'll be ready to roll for the busy season.

Libby Wixtead (02:16):Yeah. For those of you who just rave about their decorations, I promise the decor is even better than before. They are really excited for their new space and all the new decorating that had been done previously. We'll just get to it. Ryan, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you have got to where you are today?

Ryan Conklin (02:37):Of course. I grew up on a dairy farm around Plain City, just about 20 minutes away from here in Delaware. Our farm was on a very busy state route, which is going to become important later since we're talking about farm accidents, but very traditional rural upbringing, small public farm school, FFA, did a lot of work there, went to Ohio State, studied animal sciences and agribusiness, went down, did a stint at University of Florida for a little while. Yes, all the rumors are true. It's a swamp. It is not very comfortable there to walk around, but got my master's in ag ed there before returning to the Midwest and studying law at Michigan State.

Libby Wixtead (03:23):You've been all over.

Ryan Conklin (03:25):Yeah. I really like my land grant schools, but in case anybody's concerned, Ohio State through and through. No split allegiance. Yeah. Always rooting for the Buckeyes to the end.

Libby Wixtead (03:39):As you should be.

Ryan Conklin (03:41):Yes.

Libby Wixtead (03:42):All right. What is one of the first things that family members should do after a farm accident, especially with harvest? I know up in our area we've already had a farm accident happen before harvest happened. What are just the first steps that they should take?

Ryan Conklin (04:01):Yeah. Yeah. I think it's very fitting, actually, we're recording this around Halloween because farm accidents I think are the nightmare fuel for farmers and for farm families. For my dad, it was always the 3:00 AM sudden wake-up because he was having a dream that the cows were out on our state route. He would have a lot of wake-up moments really being worried about whether the cows were kept in. Then of course he had a son who when he was five or six decided to leave the gate open once.

Libby Wixtead (04:37):Oh, jeez.

Ryan Conklin (04:38):Learned that at a young age that farm accidents happen and also that's the quick way to getting on your dad's bad side there.


Libby Wixtead (04:46):Mm-hmm. You never forgot to close the gate again.


Ryan Conklin (04:48):I never forgot to close the gate again, so lesson hard learned. When you have one of those farm accidents occur, though, really that instant... Once you get past that instant shock that comes with the farm accident, from the legal standpoint what we're looking for is how are we documenting that incident? Criminal authorities, whether it's state highway patrol, we would want them involved to have their part if it's a road-based accident. If it's something like maybe a combine fire, whatever you can write down whatever you can take pictures of, whatever you can document there onsite. That's an important thing for any potential insurance issues or any future legal issues are documenting that piece.


(05:36):But really the first and foremost thing, we got to worry about human safety. If there are injuries, take care of that, don't be that crude and insensitive person who somebody injured right next to you but you got your phone out trying to document the whole thing. That's not good practice there. But thinking about it, again, from an attorney's perspective, we really want to have as much evidence preserved there as possible. As you get further and further away from the event, it's harder to do that.


Libby Wixtead (06:03):Yeah. Just that. You think you're going to remember every detail and then, like you said, after that shock, it's just you... It's amazing how much you forget. It's not just taking one photo, it's taking multiple photos, and that's the greatest thing about having our smartphones right now is that we can document a lot of that.


Ryan Conklin (06:23):Right. Even aside from the documentation piece, just the conversations that you have with folks afterward, you might hear someone say if you're in a fender bender, "Don't walk up to the person and say you're sorry because that admits guilt." I wouldn't say that's necessarily the case, but what you say and what you do after that accident, is all discoverable information as part of any legal proceeding, so what you're saying, just be careful about that piece. But as you get further away from that event, obviously one of the first people you want to notify is your insurance agent to see if there are any claims to file for property damage or if there's any personal injury that you would need to worry about.


Libby Wixtead (07:15):Yeah. My dad, actually this fall or summer had somebody come through and drive through his cornfield. Granted, that's not necessarily an accident, but just documenting the whole process of everything that happened and then taking pictures and then contacting that insurance company even on the property side of it. Preparing for this podcast I didn't even think about that, but that's something else that goes into it when you don't think of an actual accident or something like that happening.


Ryan Conklin (07:41):Yeah. We're probably being narrow in our scope of farm accidents here. I mean, this can be everything from our dreaded roadside accidents involving moving equipment, my poor farm accident with leaving the gate open or animals running at large would be a problem, you could have equipment fires, barn fires. I mean, the range of possibilities here is wide. I know the statistics bear out the danger of farming and agriculture as a profession, and the fact that we have a farm safety week I think bears the importance of this.


Libby Wixtead (08:19):Yeah, absolutely. Can we dive in a little bit more into kind of having livestock running?


Ryan Conklin (08:26):Mm-hmm.


Libby Wixtead (08:29):Who is really liable at that point if you have livestock running around or have some cattle or pigs or whatever loose on the road?


Ryan Conklin (08:37):Mm-hmm. That's a great question, Libby. I love this one. I will never, ever... If you know our practice, we deal primarily with farm succession, and a lot of landowner representation. Those are our core practice areas, but what I consider to be a legal unicorn in agriculture is animals running at large case. These are fun to write about, and they're fun to hypothesize about, but for those who experience them they can be really, really bad. When we are analyzing animals running at large cases, we're looking at two factors. Is there a criminal issue and is there a civil issue?


(09:17):The type of enclosures that you're using for your livestock does make a difference here. Now I'm sure a lot of the reasonable AgCredit members that are listening here are not trying to enclose their cattle with bailing twine and only bailing twine and that's it. They use the proper enclosures, the proper fencing, and gates there, but there is that bad actor out there who really just kind of pieces together their fencing, really does a poor job at maintenance there, the cows keep getting out, they just keep kind of putting in and tying a little wire and away they go. If you're consistently doing that and you're aware that it's a problem over and over, you might be looking at some criminal exposure there so that's something... You certainly don't want to find yourself in a position of defending yourself in open court as to how you enclose your livestock.


(10:13):On the criminal side, that's a prosecutor's decision whether they're going to go that route if your livestock keeps getting out. On the civil side, if you have cattle or hogs or animals that get out and somebody hits them on the road or there's an accident, then we're looking at civil analysis there. Not every animal running at large equals liability. Animals, livestock, they're still animals at the end of the day and there's only a certain level of control that we as farmers can exert over them, so if you've done everything right for your enclosures, your gates, and maintained that livestock and they still get out because cows are naturally athletic, there's probably not a lot of legal exposure that you have in that case.


Libby Wixtead (11:06):If somebody had... Let's say you have that bad apple farmer whose cattle keep getting out but they're not actively trying to get their cattle back in, and you have other people who... Neighbors and that who... I mean, can they call the sheriff and say like, "Hey, so-and-so's cattle are out running around. We've seen them, but there's no active... Nobody's actively trying to get them back into where they need to be."


Ryan Conklin (11:34):Mm-hmm. Yeah, let's say Libby's cows are out running at large but it's a Saturday afternoon in the fall and Ohio State is playing Purdue, which, gosh, I sure hope they win that game this week and otherwise when you air this podcast people are going to get bad memories, but Libby's saying, "Oh, you know what? I really don't feel like leaving the couch. Ohio State's on. Yeah. They won't go too far. They'll just get in the neighbor's."


Libby Wixtead (12:00):"They'll come back."


Ryan Conklin (12:01):"They'll come back. They know where home is." I think that is something that would contribute to civil liability, number one, especially if there's property damage or personal injury involved, but it would also contribute to a prosecutor's criminal case against you because your duty to the public not only is to keep those animals enclosed, but if they get out you have to show a reasonable effort to get them back in.


Libby Wixtead (12:33):That can be a real problem for you if you're that bad apple and you're just not actively trying, which I guarantee you is just... That's not, like you said, the majority of our customers, but that's just something to think about. That could really be damaging to your farming operation. Let's talk about now, okay, let's say that there's a farming accident where somebody passes away and it's right here now in the fall and that person is the owner of everything. So grain, how are we selling grain? How are we working with titled vehicles? How does all of that work and what should people do?


Ryan Conklin (13:14):Mm-hmm. Yeah. This is the really horrible area of overlap where liability or farm accidents or farm safety meets farm succession too because especially in harvest time accidents, they're particularly high stress so they're particularly concerning because you still got to get that crop in, you still got to prepare for the next year. It's really an unfortunate fact pattern because you have a family that is simultaneously trying to grieve, trying to mourn the loss of a loved one, but at the same time the farm has very high demands and it's very unforgiving and you have factors that are working against you with weather and time there.


(14:01):If you have a family that experiences one of these unfortunate losses, I think having legal counsel in place to be able to jump on those requirements, and start probate proceedings if necessary, those would be important if you don't have much of a plan or much structure in place. I know what AgCredit preaches and what we certainly preach at Wright & Moore is having that plan in place well in advance to ensure continuity even though there are very slim chances that there would be accidents that occur and even lower chance that those accidents are fatal. You still have to plan for those what-ifs and have an idea of what people need to do to be able to continue the farm business if someone passes away.


Libby Wixtead (14:50):Well, that's the thing, it's not just... We're not talking about dad, son, and daughter where dad passes away. It could be husband and wife and it could be a young couple. I think of my husband and I. It's does the wife have an idea of what's going on? Do we know where we need to sell our grain? Do we know where our grain is even stored to sell it? There's a lot that goes into it that I think things... You go back to documentation, all of those things need to be documented somewhere and held in a place that everybody has access to, whether you have created an entity or you're working individually. There's just a lot that's there.


Ryan Conklin (15:36):Right, right.


Libby Wixtead (15:36):But going back to selling the grain, do you sell the grain in their name? Do you sell the grain? How do you... What should you do?


Ryan Conklin (15:46):When you're showing up at the elevator, what are you telling them?


Libby Wixtead (15:47):Because you have to get that crop off.


Ryan Conklin (15:49):Yeah. Thankfully a lot of the co-ops that are working in the AgCredit territory are very flexible with this, and this is kind of the benefit of having existing relationships with a lender, with an attorney, with your cooperative is that really what happens or should happen on the legal side is not often what happens practically. If you have a husband or wife who passed away or both of them passed away and son or daughter is trying to get that crop in, taking grain to the elevator, what you can do in the short term, keep selling it as it is, keep marketing it as it is, and then once harvest is complete then take care of the proceedings to be able to get those moved over. Oftentimes in our experience, co-ops will allow for the movement of those accounts without any extra-judicial proceedings.


Libby Wixtead (16:47):I think you said something very important there and I'm going to hit hard on. Working with cooperatives is very easy and is very... I don't want to say forgiving, but if you are a member of that cooperative, you have that relationship with them, you have that relationship, you said, with your lender, which AgCredit is a cooperative and is understanding how farms work and how farm families are working together in that unfortunate event, and so I just want to hit that on there, that that is a key thing of cooperatives were created by farmers and that is really helpful in an event like this.


Ryan Conklin (17:29):Right. Even AgCredit is another great example because as a cooperative, you issue stock to your members, which, again, in the difference between legal and practical the legal analysis is that stock is a titled asset. It's something that you have your name attached to it. It would be a probate asset if not handled correctly, but as I'm sure many AgCredit employees or AgCredit members can attest to, when you have that person who passes away and they're a member of the co-op but you've got that existing relationship, that stock is going to find... AgCredit will make sure that stock finds its way to the right place.


Libby Wixtead (18:12):Yes. Absolutely, we will. With that, we are going to take a quick break and we'll see you guys on the other side.


Voiceover (18:21):Make your year-end equipment purchases easy with Farm Credit EXPRESS. Through a partnership with AgCredit and participating dealers, Farm Credit EXPRESS is designed to provide you with competitive rates, flexible terms, and the conveniences you're looking for in an equipment finance program. Apply for Farm Credit EXPRESS financing at a participating dealership, take advantage of manufacturer cash discounts, and enjoy the benefits of cooperative ownership including AgCredit's patronage program. Visit for a list of participating dealers or contact your local AgCredit team for more information.


Libby Wixtead (18:56):All right, welcome back. We are going to start talking about how we can prevent some of these issues and help be proactive in case we have an unfortunate event. Ryan, how can we prevent problems with titled vehicles, landlords, even what we were talking about before, having to sell grain with an individual? What are some things that we can do to help any of these events go a little bit smoother?


Ryan Conklin (19:28):Yeah. I'll use this analogy that I've used in probably AgCredit webinars or presentations so I hope this isn't redundant for your listeners. Attorneys or professional advisors, accountants, financial advisors, lenders, insurance, all of those advisors make much better fire alarms than they do fire extinguishers. When you are in the midst of a farm accident, that is not the time to be saying, "Okay, I think it's time that I get around to doing this." That is... By then it really might be too late to take any preventive steps to do anything about that accident, so a level of proactivity is really required to engage in effective prevention, but that's hard.


(20:17):Just think about your own farm businesses or your own operations. How often is it that there's just something that comes up that prevents you from making that phone call or establishing that relationship or getting a policy updated or... I think everybody always answers the phone for their lenders, especially during harvest time. I know that if there's a farm to buy or if there's a farm to sell or something and you need to talk to your lender, they'll come in and they'll see Libby, they'll take your phone calls and answer your emails. If it's coming from me, "We'll wait till December." 


Libby Wixtead (20:56):We can find excuses, right?


Ryan Conklin (20:58):Right. We can always find excuses. I think some of those... The first preventative steps or proactive steps that you can take to prepare for a farm accident really starts with having that plan in place that we talked about earlier. It's not just succession that we talk about in the legal sense, it's succession in the business sense, having some continuity, a decision-maker, knowing where important documents are kept, knowing which bills need to be paid, which account they need to come from. Again, we can probably reference some examples of families where, gosh, if the husband passes away or the wife passes away, nobody knows where any of the bills need to go or where they come from or how any of the books work or how anything works on the marketing side, so really having that plan in place is such a key step.


(21:54):Then the other point I'll hit on there is in farm accidents, the legal side can hinge on minutiae, on just the smallest things so often. It's simple things like replacing a headlight or checking your lights ahead of time or getting over just a little further on the road or having that fire extinguisher recharged on the combine. It's just those little things that can make a difference. Having the gate locked is a good one, but those are just really easy small examples that can tilt a legal case one way or another.


Libby Wixtead (22:37):It's just slowing down during harvest. I mean, I know some harvest and some planting seasons, it's like go, go, go because we have this short window, but it's slowing down and doing the things that we need to do to keep everybody safe, just doing the right thing. I think it's really important as a young beginning farmer to have that board of directors or that CPA, your attorney, your insurance agent, and get that started early on in your career just so you establish those relationships and you can work with those people throughout your entire career.


(23:14):They will get to know your operation very intimately, they can change whatever area that they're in as you grow through your operation, and so then you can be prepared for if anything happens and can advise you in those aspects because I think what our generation does really well is if we don't know something, we find somebody who is an expert in that and helps us and we bounce ideas off of them. I think that's really important. Whether you're using who dad uses, dad or mom use, or you find somebody who's younger that is a young beginning farmer with you or understands what you're doing, I just think that is so key to preventing a lot of things and just giving you a lot of pointers or has the expertise to lead you in the right direction.


Ryan Conklin (24:07):Right, right. I don't know if there's any other industry out there that is as relationship-driven as agriculture, and that is both the macro relationships, trade organizations at the state or national level, and agribusinesses that work together. I mean, there's a lot of connection there at the macro level, but going all the way down to the micro level, family farm areas, that strong relationship with the lender. It's, "We're borrowing from AgCredit and we're third or fourth-generation borrowers or our accountant has done the tax returns for multiple generations of our family. When we go to do our taxes each year, we drop off the shoebox full of receipts for all three family members or when we go to do our updates with our lender, it's coming as a family to do that."


(25:06):Those kinds of strong relationships are areas that help you plan really multiple generations down and help a family really absorb any of those accidents or any of those issues that can come their way, so building that board of directors, building that group of professional advisors, and starting those connections early. I think it can play out your entire career that those relationships or those connections you established early really put your farm business or put your professional life on a great track.


Libby Wixtead (25:43):Yeah. It almost gives you that competitive edge too. Everybody's looking for that competitive edge on their farm, and I truly think that's your competitive edge, having that board of directors.


Ryan Conklin (25:54):Yeah. A good point on the board of directors too is to remember that that group is there to work for you and should be working for you, so you're the chair, you're the one responsible for holding that group accountable. We tell this to clients all the time with their legal counsel relationships. There should be no fear about being able to walk into your legal counsel's office and saying, "You're not doing a good job or you're not meeting my standards this way." It's written into the law governing lawyers that the client controls the representation, so if we're not doing a good job... We are merely custodians of your file. You tell us, "Hey, Wright & Moore or Wrong & Less, you're responsible for doing this a certain way. You're not doing it. I would like my file back so I can take it elsewhere." Those are things that listeners need to keep in mind is you're the boss with those relationships.


Libby Wixtead (27:00):You can fire them if you need to.


Ryan Conklin (27:01):You can fire them. Yes. You can fire them. Keep us on our toes. Make sure we're doing a good job.


Libby Wixtead (27:04):Well, I think that's a really good point, though, for all professional advisors. We talked about planning ahead, being very, very proactive, so lastly here what advice would you give a young beginning farmer? I know we've talked about it a little bit here, but what other advice would you give a young beginning farmer just on farm accidents and what to do in that aspect?


Ryan Conklin (27:34):Yeah. This is a great lesson I learned early in my career about the practice of law, and I think it translates very well over to farm practice. Before you can do something quickly, you have to do it really, really well. I think it's so easy, whether it's practice of law or on the farm, to where we're all about output, we're all about how quickly can we get to the finished product or get to the next job or get to the next task. We're task-oriented. We know what we've got to get through, the to-do list is miles long, and right there at the bottom is calling your attorney. That's consistently at the bottom.


(28:20):But it took extra time and it took a lot of extra work that maybe I didn't have time for, but what really helped me grow as a practitioner was taking time to understand, to slow down, do things correctly, but also understand the why behind the what, and doing those little farm safety steps that we talked about earlier, taking time to slow down and take care of those. Just focus on those details. I think you can find long-term as you grow in your career as a young producer that focusing on those details really helped you see the big picture long-term.


Libby Wixtead (29:05):Yeah. Doing those little things as we want you to continue your operation, we want it to be generational. We can prevent farm accidents as much as we can. We know those unfortunate events will just happen, but we want to see you guys for years and years and years and see you guys grow and be successful.


Ryan Conklin (29:26):Right. Another really good area to hit on, and this is a selfish plug here, Kayla and Libby, you can join in my great career-long quest to get written farm leases in every farm lease everywhere.


Libby Wixtead (29:43):Absolutely.

 Ryan Conklin (29:44):It's not a farm safety issue, but it is a farm security issue. Even in the last 60 days, have fielded three different calls from three different farms saying, "Hey, I've got a landlord that's selling a farm and they want to boot me off for next year." "Well, do you have a written lease?" "Well, no. We got a handshake." I understand the tradition and the heritage and the culture behind those handshake deals. Our industry ran for a long time on those arrangements, but for 2023 they're really not feasible anymore. It's a tremendous risk, especially if you have a high number of rented acres for your operation or as a young producer that's really trying to get established. It's a very big risk to try and build your acres and secure that rented ground purely on handshakes because I can assure you at some point those landlords might pass away or there's a transition of ownership and they might not have the same feelings about that farm tenant as your predecessor.


Libby Wixtead (30:56):Yeah, no, that is a great point because we have had so many farms come up for sale, going to auction, and it's been the next generation and not the original landlord that made that lease and promised and promised and promised. Well, when it comes to the next generation who is further removed from that farm, that's why it's going up for auction. I hit on that with all of my clients, especially my young clients, that is just to protect you. That is just a big protection. Then the law that was passed about the September 1st date, can you talk a little bit about that?


Ryan Conklin (31:41):Of course. That was a fun bill to work on with the Ohio Farm Bureau and Ohio State Bar Association as the champions of that bill. We were looking at other Midwestern states and how they handled written or, excuse me, verbal farm leases. They actually have... Other Midwestern states have laws on the books that say, "Landlord, if you don't provide notice of termination by a certain date, then the farm lease that is verbal continues into the next year." The mindset there, looking to protect our farm tenants, our farmers in this case, what we want to do is give you security going into the fall that you can purchase inputs, that you can conduct tillage, you can put a wheat crop in, you can put cover crops down, you can take all of those steps without fear that on February 1st you're going to get the rug pulled out from under you.


(32:38):Ohio passed a similar law last year. This has been the first full year that it's been in effect, but it requires that if you're a landlord and you want to offload a property, you want to sell it, and terminate the farm lease, you've got to do it on or before September 1st in writing of the current year. That's for the next crop season. If I tried to terminate a farm lease right now, I would be not in compliance with that law so the farm tenant that I would try to terminate now would actually have a lease through the end of this year and through the end of next year.


Libby Wixtead (33:17):Again, still to protect yourself and to keep that relationship with your landlord, please have your leases written and, if they're over three years, filed.


Ryan Conklin (33:27):Yeah. I think, Libby, the kids would say, "Say it louder for the people in the back."


Libby Wixtead (33:32):Right.


Ryan Conklin (33:34):Yeah. Thank you for joining the great quests that I'm on to get all these written farm leases in place.


Libby Wixtead (33:41):No, that is such a good point and a good thing to still talk about. I mean, again, it could come into play if there was a farming accident and dad was taking over, and with the next generation coming on, there's a lot of play that could come into that. We want to thank you, Ryan. We know you're a great resource for our members, and my husband and I have our own success story using Ryan so we highly recommend his practice. If you guys are looking at succession planning or just need some legal advice, they will travel. They are here to provide that service and that expertise of ag attorneys.


(34:25):This will do it for another episode of AgCredit Said It. We will have all the resources in our show notes, and we will see you guys next time. We hope you guys have a very safe and bountiful harvest.


Voiceover (34:39):

Thank you for listening to AgCredit Said It. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. While you are there, leave us a review to help others find the show. Let's talk ag in between episodes. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at agcredit. For more tips and resources, visit