Now we're talking my game. knabe, an LLC is the easiest (and usually cheapest) way to go when partners are involved. XXCC'c suggestion of SBA is good, but let's refine that somewhat. You should have an SBA SbDC (Small Business Development Center) somewhere near you. The director will be a local person, many times an accountant or former business owner, who will work with you to help start and devleop your business. The SbDC director will be able to refer Attorneys, Accountants, etc. with experience in your desired endeavor.
I what I believe you are proposing, partners with little, or no say in the business operations (Venture Capitalist) usually dictate their majority interest in the business. They set the thresholds, and tell you what % of asset division, and profits you can count as your own. They are not concerned with previously occurred expenses, and will seldom allow them to enter the balance sheet.
kimbaljd, your first question has to do with Wills, and/or Trusts. If you don't have anything in place, you need to visit an Atorney. Concerning taxes; all states play by a different set of rules. Your State Tax Commission probably has a website which lists all permits and exemptions. Depending on how you set up your operation, and your state tax structure, you may be able to purchase feed and farm supplies free of sales taxes. The IRS has a section F for farm income and deductions. Expenses such as feed, supplies, repairs, vet, fuel, marketing, utilities, etc. are deductible from your sales. Assets such as land, barns, cattle, tractors, trucks, equipment are depeciable, and also deducted from your sales. It's pretty easy to have a losing operation, no mater how hard you try to show a profit. You too should seek out your area SbDC director.