Passing on a farm operation to the next generation is one of the biggest and most challenging decisions farm families will ever make. Much is at stake — money, emotions, goals and lifestyles — as families need to think critically about where they’re at today, and where they want to be in the future.
Recognizing the complexities of farm succession, Iowa State University Extension is planning a four-day Returning to the Farm Seminar, Jan. 10-11 and Feb. 14-15. Led by ISU Extension specialists, professionals and experienced farmers, the workshop is intended to help families plan for succession, learn to communicate and answer critical questions.
“This is for farm families hoping to bring sons and daughters back to the operation,” says Dave Baker, director of ISU’s Beginning Farmer Center. “Every situation and family is different.”
The program is for all family members, including students, parents and grandparents, farmers and non-farming heirs, and all successors of a farming operation. Through presentations and discussions, families will take a collective and individual look at their values, visions, missions, goals, strategies and tactics.
Each family member has a different personality and style of communicating. By attending the seminar, participants will see and hear different viewpoints held by other fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wives and husbands, who are facing some of the same challenges at other farms. “Farmers have a family legacy they want to maintain for the next generation,” Baker says. “We need to think about a successor to this successful business.”
Learning skills to manage conflict when it arises, participants can potentially prevent future arguments and disputes.
Get the details
The Returning to the Farm Seminar will be at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames. Presenters include:
Dave Baker, director of the ISU Beginning Farmer Center
- Jay Harmon, ISU College of Ag and Life Sciences interim associate dean
- John Baker, attorney, Beginning Farmer Center
- Kelvin Leibold, Extension farm management specialist
- Charles Brown, Extension farm management specialist
- Melissa O’Rourke, Extension farm management specialist
- Racheal Ruble, professor, ISU Communication Studies Program
- Patrick Hatting, Extension farm management specialist
Cost is $450 for up to four participants; $50 for each additional participant. First six families who register will receive a $100 discount toward their registration. Registration includes lunches, and a complimentary Farm Savvy binder with worksheets, exercises and relevant articles. ISU students who participate can earn up to two credit hours, at no additional academic cost, if carrying a class load of 12 credits.
Registration is preferred by Jan. 5 to help with planning. Organizers are hoping for at least eight to 10 families. Visit Returning to the Farm Seminar for more inofrmation and to register.