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Associate Editor for High Plains Journal.

Learning session: Planning for a sucessful farm transition

One of the hardest conversations a child may have with their parent is about farm planning and a transition to who will take over the family farm.

A learning center session March 1 at Commodity Classic featured panelists: Darren Frye, president and CEO, Water Street Solutions; Arlan Suderman, senior market analyst, Water Street Solutions; Brian Hensley, legacy advisor, Water Street Solutions; and Bryce Knorr, senior editor Farm Futures magazine. Each gave suggestions and ideas as where to start the process of planning for the future.

Knorr said through his research he has found that there aren’t many farmers out there who have a plan for transition of the farm to the next generation.

“Less than half of farmers actually have a plan,” Knorr said. “Some may have an estate plan or a will but not something that will make the farm continue.”

Hensley said farmers can start the transition planning process by doing three things. First, simply have an open dialogue. Start having a conversation with whoever may be interested in transitioning to running the farm whether it be a child, spouse or a land owner. Second, gather your team of experts. These can include attorneys, CPAs, insurance people or Farm Service Agency personnel. Third, keep it urgent.

“Things become more urgent when you have a plan,” Hensley said.

Suderman agreed. Find experienced people to be on your team. Attorneys with estate planning experience are helpful and can make the process smoother than one without the necessary experience.

“The process takes time,” Knorr said. “There’s going to be a lot o f meetings both group and individually. There’s a lot of papers and numbers.”

Left to right: Darren Frye, Brian Hensley, Arlan Suderman and Bryce Knorr during the What to Do Now for a Sucessful Farm Transition learning session at Commodity Classic March 1. (Journal photo by Kylene Scott.)

Left to right: Darren Frye, Brian Hensley, Arlan Suderman and Bryce Knorr during the What to Do Now for a Sucessful Farm Transition learning session at Commodity Classic March 1. (Journal photo by Kylene Scott.)

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