Julie S. Bettinger

Farm Transition Series

Transitioning Part 1: Plan now for tomorrow's family farm

Author and time management expert Alan Lakein famously said; “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”

And when it comes to family farms, having a viable farm transition plan could be the solution to “keep it in the family.”

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Transitioning Part 2: Considering the future of your family farm?

When families are trying to prepare for succession in their farm operation, there are two things that will better assure a smoother transition, says Ashley Gardner: Having a family conversation about the senior generation’s desires, and involving the next generation in management.

But before you can get to those steps, you have to answer a very important question, the CPA says: If the patriarch or matriarch of the operation dies, what do they want to happen with the family farm?

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Transitioning Part 3: Making introductions

A farmer and his grown son walked into the Farm Service Agency’s Moultrie office one day. FSA loan officer Mike Gibbs knew the man and his family, as he’d been making loans to them going back 25 years. The farmer introduced his son, said he’d graduated from college and wanted to go into the farming business. “I told him a good place to start is here,” the man said. He told Gibbs he didn’t want to influence the conversation, so would wait outside, then turned and walked out.

What the farmer did in that simple act had the potential to secure the future of that family’s farm: He was setting up the next generation for success.

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Transitioning Part 4: Equipment Leasing

It used to be that leasing was something you did when you couldn’t afford to buy equipment outright. But today’s ag producer recognizes leasing as a tool that offers distinct advantages for keeping operations flowing smoothly.

Some of the key benefits of leasing are particularly advantageous in farm transitions, said Southwest Georgia Farm Credit Relationship Manager Ragan Fretwell. As farms often take years to transition from one generation to the next, both parties should consider how leases might fit into their plans.

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