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Indiana families prepare the next generation for the future of their farm operations

“As Indiana farm families face the issue of transferring the farm to the next generation of operators, the need for information and resources has become crucially important for the smooth transition of the business. For the incumbent generation, it’s scary to inherit farmland without any plans for the future. To help those facing inheriting farmland, Purdue Extension adapted a program from the University of Nebraska Extension – “So You Inherited a Farm, Now What?” – via two online, evening sessions.

 Presentations addressed land values and trends, types of leases, communication strategies, succession planning, and legal issues (provided by an attorney). Some 84 participants attended live sessions, 25 viewed the first session recording, and 45 viewed the second. By offering this online program, absentee landlords owning property within the state, but who were not located in Indiana, could participate Within nine months after the program, five participants reported they had developed a succession plan, two had completed risk assessments of their business, and one had adopted formal written land leases. Participants (43.8%) revealed that they had made additions or changes to their farming operation or land rental, including these: in process of gifting land to family members, transferring ownership to grandson who works on the farm and cash renting from him as an income source, lease changes, more frequent communication,  in process of changing the trustee, and changed some land titles.

 Most (83.3%) stated changes they made led to improved financial outcomes for their farming operation or land rental. A quarter (21.4%) estimated financial impact of  the program to their farming operation was greater than $10 per acre. Purdue Extension’s “So You Inherited a Farm, Now What?” helped Indiana families prepare for the next generation to take on farm operations. As one participant stated, “We had inherited the farm several years before I attended the seminar. The result was that many of the topics discussed were ones we had already addressed or had already researched. The seminar did give me some resources for future reference and did hammer home the importance of communication and family cohesiveness.”

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