The End of Irrigation, USDA Cost-Share for Organic Certification, and other legal news to ponder from Cape Law Firm

Self-Watering Soils

We always love learning about innovative and interesting inventions with applications in agriculture, which is why news of self-watering soils by the University of Texas caught our eye. A team of engineers at UT used super moisture absorbent gels to create soils that capture moisture from the air. The gels absorb water in cooler temperatures and then release the water as the sun heats the soil during the day. Experiments conducted with radishes showed the plants in their gel-infused soils survived 14 days without irrigation, but the plants in sandy soils died within 2 days after irrigation was stopped. The team has at least one patent related to this technology.

If it will keep me from dragging around the water hose and a sprinkler to water my lawn, I’m all for it.

USDA Cost Share Program for Organic Certification

Organic producers can get some financial assistance to help offset the costs of obtaining or renewing their organic certifications. The USDA’s Organic Certification Cost Share Program will provide reimbursement of some costs paid to obtain organic certification, including:

  • application fees
  • inspection costs
  • inspector travel costs
  • user fees
  • sales assessments

Under the National Organic Program, producers must apply for an official certification that verifies the crops, livestock, and other products were produced and/or handled in compliance with the organic program standards. The certification process typically involves submission of production plans and on-site inspections by USDA-qualified organic inspectors. The USDA’s cost share program will reimburse up to 50% of certification costs up to a maximum of $500 per scope.

Cape Law Firm’s Frequently (or Randomly) Asked Questions

“How can I make sure that I get paid?” – PART 2

Last week we offered a few tips that might help you avoid overdue invoices, so this week we have a few thoughts about the collection process. In situations where the business is flowing both ways and you owe money to the other party, you may be able to exercise a setoff against the amount you are owed. For example, if a customer owes you $1,000, but you also owe them $1,500, you may be able to setoff the amount you are owed and pay $500, taking credit for the $1,000 you are owed.

When all else fails, you can sue to collect past due bills. Usually this is the option of last resort because it typically involves a multi-step process.

  • The first step is winning the lawsuit and getting a judgment in your favor. Getting a judgment doesn’t necessarily mean the debtor will write you a check for the amount. Instead, you may need to enforce the judgment through additional legal proceedings.
  • Enforcement of a judgment can take many forms, such as garnishing bank accounts or paychecks, seizing assets which can be sold at a sheriff’s sale, or foreclosing the judgment lien on land.
  • Each enforcement method generally requires additional legal proceedings. However, in most cases you can recover the costs and expenses of the enforcement proceedings themselves.

In every case, the old saying “you can’t get blood from a turnip” lurks in the background. If the debtor has no assets, is unemployed, or both, it may be impossible to satisfy the judgment. Or you may simply have to wait until the debtor gets a job. These are all good reasons that “knowing” your customer is the best way to make sure you get paid.

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