Workshop will address passing on the family farm

The UW-Extension in Jefferson County will host a workshop in Jefferson on Jan. 20 to explore issues and considerations for farm succession in today’s high stakes climate. The workshop will be at the Jefferson County UW-Extension office, 864 Collins Rd., Jefferson.

A generation ago, passing on the family farm was a simple process. Profit margins were higher, land values were lower, farm size was smaller, and tax rates were not significant. More often than not, a farmer could draft a simple will to transfer ownership to his children. We are facing serious questions as to whether the family farm can, in fact, be passed down from today’s owners to the next generation.

Transferring the farm business to the next generation is seldom an abrupt process. The transition generally takes place over a number of years, thus successful farm succession takes good planning and communication. The succeeding generation needs to establish a firm financial footing as well as learning to manage the business. The retiring generation has to be willing to turn over control of the business and trust that the successor will do well.

Developing a working plan will make the actual transition smoother and will make communicating the transfer details with on-farm and off-farm family members easier. Even if your transfer may happen a few years from now, starting early will help the process go more smoothly.

Transferring the Farm in a High Stakes Era will explore these issues and considerations for farm succession in today’s high stakes climate. Topics to be covered include:

  • Financial considerations for retirement.
  • Farm business arrangements.
  • Dealing with the 5 D’s: Death, Divorce, Disability, Disaster and Disagreement.
  • Tax considerations for farm transfers.
  • Beginning farmer business planning.
  • Importance of communication in farm transfers.

Phil Harris, from the Applied Agricultural Economics Department at UW-Madison and UW-Extension Agriculture Law Specialist will be a featured speaker at this workshop.  Harris will discuss business arrangement and tax considersations for farm transfers.

The program begins with registration at 8:45 a.m. and concludes at 3:30 p.m. The workshop cost is $20.00 per person and includes lunch, refreshments, speakers and workshop materials. Pre-registration is required by January 15th, 2011. To register, contact the Jefferson County UW-Extension Office at 920-674-7295.

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