29 CFR 780.131 - Operations which constitute one a
Generally, an employer must undertake farming operations of such scope and significance as to constitute a distinct activity, for the purpose of yielding a farm product, in order to be regarded as a “farmer.” It does not necessarily follow, however, that any employer is a “farmer” simply because he engages in some actual farming operations of the type specified in section 3(f). Thus, one who merely harvests a crop of agricultural commodities is not a “farmer” although his employees who actually do the harvesting are employed in “agriculture” in those weeks when exclusively so engaged. As a general rule, a farmer performs his farming operations on land owned, leased, or controlled by him and devoted to his own use. The mere fact, therefore, that an employer harvests a growing crop, even under a partnership agreement pursuant to which he provides credit, advisory or other services, is not generally considered to be sufficient to qualify the employer so engaged as a “farmer.” Such an employer would stand, in packing or handling the product, in the same relationship to the produce as if it were from the fields or groves of an independent grower. One who engaged merely in practices which are incidental to farming is not a “farmer.” For example, a company which merely prepares for market, sells, and ships flowers and plants grown and cultivated on farms by affiliated corporations is not a “farmer.” The fact that one has suspended actual farming operations during a period in which he performs only practices incidental to his part or prospective farming operations does not, however, preclude him from qualifying as a “farmer.” One otherwise qualified as a farmer does not lose his status as such because he performs farming operations on land which he does not own or control, as in the case of a cattleman using public lands for grazing.