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 didn’t seem as significant. More often than not, a farmer could draft a simple will to transfer ownership to his children. Today it takes planning and working with a team of professionals to effectively pass the business from today’s owners to the next generation.
The University of Wisconsin-Extension offices in Grant, Lafayette, Crawford and Richland Counties will host workshops in Belmont on Dec. 15 and in Gays Mills on Dec. 16 to provide information and ideas on farm succession and estate planning. The Dec. 15 workshop will be at the Belmont Inn and Convention Center. The Dec. 16 workshop will be at the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center. The programs run from 9:30 a.m.  to 3:15 p.m.
Transferring the farm business to the next generation is seldom an abrupt process. The succeeding generation needs to establish a firm financial footing as well as learn to manage the business. The retiring generation has to be willing to turn over management, but also know they’ll be secure for their later years.
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.
What’s Your Farm’s Future?: Farm Transition and Estate Planning explores these issues and considerations for farm succession in today’s high stakes climate. The two locations will offer the same agendas and each will have a farmer panel to learn how other farms are planning for transition. Topics include:
  • Financial considerations for each generation
  • Opening the lines of communication – why it’s so difficult and how to get the conversation started
  • Methods of asset transfer and their tax considerations
  • Farmer Panel – learn how others started their planning, what resources they used
Registration is $20 per person and includes lunch, refreshments, speakers and workshop materials. To register for the Belmont location, contact the UW-Extension Grant County by Dec. 8 at 608-723-2125 (, for the Gays Mills location contact: Crawford County UW Extension Crawford County by Dec. 9 at 608-326-0223 (


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