The compensation judge issued his findings and order on June 5, 2008. Lentz’s death was within the course and scope of her employment with the Zerebkos, that her spouse and son were dependents as defined by the statute, and that her weekly wage on the date of death was 9.12 from her employment with the Zerebkos and the U. He concluded the petting zoo was a non-farm operation, but that Ms. The only issue on appeal is whether Debra Lentz was employed by a family farm at the time of her death. The question of the application of the family farm exemption is “a conclusion of law, or at least, a mixed issue of fact and law.” , 48 W. The decision does not mandate a conclusion that the Zerebkos operated two separate and distinct businesses in the face of uncontroverted evidence to the contrary. The Zerebkos bred some animals, primarily to produce babies to be shown in the petting zoo.
Lentz was in the course and scope of her employment when she was killed, Ms.Lentz’s wage on the date of death, and the dependency status of her husband and son.The statute has two parts to its definition: (1) a “farm operation” and (2) paying less than ,000.00 in wages. When the animals were too old for the petting zoo, they were culled from the farm.There appears to be agreement among the parties that the Zerebkos paid less than ,000.00 in cash wages. Some were butchered and sold for meat, but there is no evidence that the Zerebkos advertised meat sales or conducted such sales on a regular basis. There were no advertisements of animals for sale or even any signs advising of sales at the fairs.There are spaces on the schedule in which income from “sales of livestock bought for resale” and income from “sales of livestock, grains, and other products you raised” can be entered. Instead, the income source was identified as “other income” and not further specified. The workers’ compensation statute as it was first enacted in 1913 excluded farm laborers from coverage. In 1923 the exclusion was limited by language that stated farm laborers did not include employees of commercial threshers and balers. The Zerebkos maintained one checkbook and one set of business records and did not list any business operation other than Zerebko Zoo Tran on their tax return.
The 2005 return was virtually the same, except that the gross income shown was just over 2,000. Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 23A, section 4326 (1923). Testimony by the Zerebkos at the hearing was that their business operation was a “single entity.” The Zerebkos also argue on appeal that there were not separate business operations.
All income from the farm and petting zoo were reported on one tax return.
The petting zoo/pony rides/climbing wall/bungee jump produced income in two ways.
Initially, the Zerebkos raised beef cattle, but they found that this activity did not provide sufficient income, so they looked for ways to supplement their income.
Walter and Kathy Zerebko live on a farm in Itasca County near Bovey, Minnesota. Zerebko’s family for a number of years and he acquired the farm in 1996.
WC08-187 HEADNOTES EXCLUSIONS FROM COVERAGE - FAMILY FARM. In 2005, the petting zoo exhibited baby animals, consisting of a zebra, pigmy goats, a camel, a wallaby, yaks, fallow deer, a llama, donkeys, a bison, miniature horses, and miniature cattle. Lentz had a bucket of grain and a partial bag of grain.