Peggy Kirk Hall, OSU Extension ag law specialist with the Agricultural & Resource Law program, provides the following update regarding the new I-9 form:
Beginning Jan. 22, 2017, employers must use a new version of Form I-9 for employment eligibility verification of new hires. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services revised Form I-9 last November and gave employers a short grace period for making the conversion to the new form, dated 11/14/16.
The new form is available on the USCIS website at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.
Employers will notice several improvements to the new I-9:
-- The instructions are now separate from the form and include specific guidance on each section.
-- The form is much more computer-friendly, with drop-down lists, calendars, on-screen prompts and instructions for each field, a "start over" button and easy access to full instructions.
-- The employer may now list more than one preparer and translator who assisted in completion of the form.
-- In the first section, the employer must list only "other last names used" rather than "other names used."
-- A new "additional information" box provides space for the employer to note important information for the employer's purposes such as additional documents presented, employee termination dates or form retention dates.
Employers must complete a Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of every individual hired for employment. For more information, visit the USCIS's "I-9 Central" at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central.
Another requirement for all agricultural employers that is not new, but must be kept updated, is posting of state and federal mandatory labor laws in a location where all employees have access to the information. A good resource to get the needed materials is the Law Labor Center website. This page: https://www.laborlawcenter.com/labor-law-posters/ offers the all-in-one state and federal labor law poster that provides everything employers need to be fully compliant and avoid fines.
For those farm tax preparers who have found the Farmers Tax Guide, IRS publication 225 useful over the years, that publication is available as a free pdf document download at: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p225.pdf.
SWCD tree sale returns
Famous Quote: "He who plants a tree plants a hope." The Wayne Soil and Water Conservation District tree sale is back by popular demand. The SWCD office is currently taking orders for tree seedlings. Before ordering your seedlings, do your homework and consider a few things such as: How big will it grow? Does the species match the soil and conditions? You can find descriptions of the trees on the back of the tree order form. Deadline for tree orders is March 8. Tree pickup is April 12.
This year the available species are: Colorado Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, Eastern White Pine and Norway Spruce. These trees are available in packs of 10 trees for $9. The Colorado Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir and Norway Spruce are available in packs of 25 trees for $18.
Tree order forms, and additional information about pre-bundled options, can also be found on the SWCD website at: http://wayneswcd.org/news&events.html or stop by the SWCD office.
Marking flags also are available at 15 cents each.
IPM Scouting program
The Wayne County Extension office will again be offering an integrated pest management scouting program during the 2017 growing season from the end of April through August. The scouting program is offered for the agronomic crops of alfalfa, corn and soybeans, and for commercial horticulture production including both fruit and vegetable crops. For fruit crops, scouting is offered in tree fruit (apples, peaches, plums) and small fruit (grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries). Vegetable production scouting includes both field and high tunnel grown vegetables.
The IPM crop scouting program involves trained pest management scouts walking grower fields once a week and looking for problem weeds, insects and diseases.
These scouts provide a written report on crop growth stage along with any potential pest problems. If a pest is at an economic threshold level, recommendations are provided to treat the pest.
Scouting can advise growers of possible yield reduction situations in fields with enough lead time to allow growers to take action and correct the situation. IPM scouting also can help growers avoid unnecessary spray applications when pest levels do not warrant an application. Another benefit of the IPM scouting program is the support network of OSU Extension specialists available to help with diagnosis and treatment recommendations based upon samples scouts collect from grower fields.
The IPM scouting program is primarily self-funded. There is a fee to enroll in the program that includes a base fee per farm plus a per acreage charge. In 2017 the base fee is $200 for Wayne County farms and the acreage fees are $6.50/acre for corn and soybeans, $6/acre for alfalfa and $45/acre for small fruit and vegetable crops. There are discounts for large acreages of any single crop. More information about the scouting program, program fees and enrollment forms is posted on the Wayne County Extension website at: http://go.osu.edu/agwayne. Enrollment in the program is being accepted now, and growers are encouraged to enroll by mid-February. Contact Chris Smedley at the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722 for more information.
Rory Lewandowski is an OSU Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.