However, the rule also takes two steps backward. The biggest failure of the proposed rule is that it only applies the new “actively engaged in farming” definition to farms structured of non-family members, leaving the loopholes wide open for farms structured solely of family members. We believe the rules should apply across the board regardless if the farm is structured of family members or non-family members.
The first sentence is rhetorical nonsense: since in their reading the proposal makes no change for family members, it's neither an advance or a retrogression. However, I hadn't picked up on that point--if I get ambitious I may look at it.
[Updated: yes, existing regs require "significant contribution" (roughly 50 percent and/or 1000 hours of labor) by lineal ancestor or descendant. I know I don't have the ambition to figure out how much tighter the proposed rules are on non-family members than the existing rules are on family members.]