Transferring the farm workshop at CVTC

February 10, 2012

From “Transferring the farm in a high stakes era workshop March 8” — 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.

UW-Extension and Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) are sponsoring a workshop to explore issues and considerations for farm succession in today’s high stakes climate.

The workshop is scheduled for March 8 from 9:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the CVTC Clairemont Campus, 620 W. Clairemont Ave, Eau Claire, WI. The workshop will include breakout sessions designed for both beginning and exiting farmers. Transferring the Farm in a High Stakes Era will explore the following issues: Importance of Communication in Farm Successions, Land and Building Rental Arrangements, Dealing with the 5 D’s: Death, Divorce, Disability, Disaster and Disagreement, Using AgFa (Ag Financial Advisor) website for Financial Benchmarking, Tax Considerations for Farm Transfers, Financial Considerations for Retirement, Farm Business Arrangements, and the Farm Transfer Process from the Beginners Perspective.

Speakers for the workshop will include: Phil Harris, UW-Extension Agriculture Law Specialist; Joy Kirkpatrick, UW Outreach Specialist; Katie Sternweis. Dunn County Agriculture Agent; Carl Duley, Buffalo County Agriculture Agent; Mark Denk and Brad Sirianni, Farm Business and Production Management Instructors with CVTC.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that over 500,000 of the nation’s two million farmers will retire during the next decade and that they will be replaced by 350,000 entrants. This means a potential for literally thousands of farm transfers in the United States over the next few years, at a time when we see complex and rapid changes in the industry due to technological innovations, trade and other government policies, a growing world population, urban pressures on agricultural lands, and the pressure of conservation and environmental concerns.

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, but also must consider the practical matters of determining the sources of retirement income and how dependent they will be on the business assets for their retirement.

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.

For registration information or to register, call Dunn County UW-Extension office at 715-232-1636, or contact Katie Sternweis at, or visit our website at Cost is $20.00 per person and includes materials and lunch. Registration deadline is March 1. Please send your registration form and check payable to UW-Extension to: Dunn County UW-Extension, 800 Wilson Avenue, Room 330, Menomonie, WI 54751.


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