Client Spotlight: 40 Square Cooperative Solutions Sprinting to the Finish

40 Square Cooperative Solutions, Minnesota’s independent agricultural health plan cooperative, is reminding agribusinesses that they too can enjoy the option of self-funded health insurance for their families and business employees. But the health plan enrollment deadline is quickly coming up and will close on Wednesday, December 19, 2018.

According to Minnesota state law, in order to become a member of the 40 Square health plan cooperative a farmer/employer must file either Form 1065 or Schedule F with their income tax return. In addition, entities which provide direct services to production agriculture in Minnesota are also eligible for membership. The 40 Square Board of Directors has defined this as, “Small businesses that predominately derive their income from services provided to production agriculture in Minnesota, as allowed by Minnesota State Statute.” This definition also includes farm corporations which file a Form 1120, such as S Corporations, C Corporations and LLCs.

The key factor is that the business must derive a minimum of 70% of their income from providing services to production agriculture.

Small businesses and professions with less than 50 employees which may qualify for 40 Square Cooperative Solutions, can include:

  • Livestock hauling
  • Grain and feed trucking
  • Drain tiling
  • Hoof trimmers
  • Soil testers
  • Grain elevators
  • Crop consultants
  • Agricultural implement dealers
  • Large animal veterinarians
  • Milk haulers
  • Custom harvesters
  • Mechanics – ag machinery/equipment, large trucks, etc.
  • Manure haulers
  • Seed dealers

This is not an exhaustive list and interested businesses should contact 40 Square to learn if they qualify for membership.

Char Vrieze, Executive Director of 40 Square, encourages small ag businesses to take a look at 40 Square’s plan options. “In order to strengthen and help preserve the proud tradition of farming and agribusiness in Minnesota, we are striving to provide health plan solutions that give those in the ag community more health plan choices and a larger provider network in their local area,” said Vrieze.

Structure of Cooperative and Health Plan

The 40 Square co-op is governed by a board of directors, elected by its members/patrons. Fifty-one percent of governance is members and patrons, 49 percent is investment partners.

Participant members pay into the co-op to self-fund the health plan. Those premium dollars are then placed into a Trust, only to be used for health plan expenses. All health plan participants have 100 percent ownership interest in the Trust

Health Plan Details

In 2019 40 Square will offer seven health plans, including health savings account (HSA) eligible plans. A new high deductible plan has been added that will have the lowest monthly premium compared to other 40 Square plans, giving the opportunity to save on monthly expenses. Two other 40 Square plans will also have individual and family out-of-pocket limits reduced for 2019.

Similar to traditional individual health insurance, 40 Square’s self-funded plans have an annual deductible, coinsurance and copays. The amount of coverage received depends on the plan selected. Additional benefits being offered include vision, dental and life. Other products to enhance the health plan include hearing benefits, free telemedicine doctor visits, care navigators that help explain tests, claims or billing, and a partnership with TASC’s AgriPlan/BizPlan products, which offers the ability to declare medical expenses as a business expense on taxes.

Membership Criteria

To become a member of 40 Square, farm families and agribusinesses must meet certain criteria. They must:

  • Actively work in production agriculture in Minnesota
  • File either Form 1065 or Schedule F with their income tax return or provide direct services to production agriculture in Minnesota. This includes farm corporations and businesses who predominantly receive their income from providing their services to production agriculture
  • Purchase Voting Stock in an amount of $100 (one-time, only for the farm/business/employer)
  • Purchase Common Stock of $1,000 over the first year (one-time, only for the farm/business/employer)
  • Have a minimum of one “Common Law” employee. (In general, someone who you provide a W-2, does not have to be a full-time employee; for example, it may be a spouse who does the farm books.)

Membership can be extended to include farm corporations as well as agricultural-related businesses who receive at least 70 percent their income from providing services to production agriculture. All members must commit to a three-year term with a risk of forfeiting a portion of their investment if they leave the co-op before their term has expired.


The open enrollment deadline is Dec. 19, so interested individuals should contact their local health insurance agent or visit to learn more. Contact info@40square or 844-205-9579 to get more information.

What is Your Game Plan for the 116th Congress?

With the onset of the 116th Congress in January of 2019 now is the time to develop your government relations and strategic communications plans that will guide you in taking advantage of public policy opportunities throughout the next Congress.
State lobbying and federal lobbying are not mutually exclusive.  We provide clients with a presence in the halls of Congress and within the Executive Branch while also engaging stakeholders and policymakers throughout the United States.
For additional information as to how we can assist in developing a game plan while ensuring your trade association, organization or company has a seat at the table, please contact RDL & Associates at or (651) 247-5458.

Media Release: FarmOp Capital Introduces Innovative Working Capital Product

As agriculture technology has revolutionized farming in the last two decades, producers have witnessed ag sectors racing to bring tangible and profitable solutions forward. FarmOp Capital is launching a new working capital product, that aligns ag lending with decades of AgTech innovation.

“Technology has caused major shifts in agriculture including efficiencies in production that have impacted farm size and ownership,” says Bill York, CEO and Founding Partner of FarmOp Capital. “While these trends are positive for the industry, we recognized they have left a gap in lending for many highly profitable farmers. FarmOp Capital was created to fill that void.”

York’s 40 years of ag lending experience (including serving as CEO of AgriBank, with over $100B in assets, and SVP of CNH Capital) informs his perspective on ag finance trends at FarmOp Capital. York noted that according to USDA, nearly 80 percent of “large” (1000+ acres) and “very large” (2000+ acres) producers today rent operated land. In fact, more than 50 percent of the land farmed in each of those categories is rented.

“Land has become an asset class separated from operators; the two are no longer synonymous,” adds York. “That shift in farm structure – moving from asset-heavy owners to tenant farmers – has left a gap in ag lending. That’s a long-term trend and something FarmOp Capital is addressing head on by looking at product, not assets.”

Ag lending has long relied on balance sheets with hard assets backing operating lines of credit for producers who own their land. But as the amount of farmland not owner operated increases, FarmOp Capital supplies operating capital to producers who have lighter balance sheets but a proven track record of production efficiency and profitability.

“Until now, producers who rent a majority of their land find themselves stacking credit from various sources – traditional lenders, input suppliers and others,” says York. “Piecing together credit adds undesirable costs and restrictions, while giving less negotiating power. FarmOp is changing that.”

FarmOp focuses on a producer’s ability to grow an efficient crop, rather than the value of the land they grow it on, as the basis for working capital loans. Beginning in crop year 2019, FarmOp will offer operating lines of credit giving producers the lending independence they need to run their operations.

“FarmOp provides right-sized working capital loans to provide farm operators with the bargaining power they need to lower costs and make the most efficient decisions throughout the crop year, and greater independence to run their operation,” adds York.

Producers interested in learning more about FarmOp Capital can visit, email or call FarmOp at 1-833-FARMOPS (833-327-6677) to start a direct conversation.

About FarmOp Capital

FarmOp Capital provides working capital to farm operators. FarmOp products increase independence and buying power, aligning ag lending with decades of AgTech innovation to help growers make more profitable decisions. Founded in 2017 to address long-term trends in farm operations and fill a growing need within agricultural lending, FarmOp provides credit to growers based on their ability to grow an efficient crop. 2019 marks the first year of working capital offered by FarmOp, with loan financing available now.

More information can be found at

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Issue Update: Mid-Terms Bring About Different Priorities for House Committees

Dave Ladd, President of RDL & Associates, was recently a guest on the Linder Farm Network to provide an assessment of the changes brought about in the United States House of Representatives committee priorities due to the mid-term elections.

For additional information, please contact RDL & Associates at (651) 247-5458 or