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I am excited to announce that the USU Extension office will be holding a farm & ranch succession workshop. The workshop will take place over two nights, 6-8:30 p.m., Oct. 26-27 at the USU Caine Dairy.

Cache County Extension also received a grant, so the workshop will be free to all who would like to attend, but you need to RSVP with Megan at the Extension Office, (435)752-6263, to guarantee your spot. Dinner will be provided each night, but again you must RSVP. Here are some more details about the workshop.

The farm & ranch succession workshop is designed to help farmers and ranchers begin the succession process. The instructors will not tell you what choices you need to make for your succession plan, rather they will be instructing on how to get started and where to go for extra help.

Workbooks will be provided for the workshop and will be used as a tool to help you prepare and gather the information you will need when talking to lawyers, bankers and professionals that are helping with your succession plan. Having the workbook and learning how to fill it out properly can save an operation thousands of dollars in legal or professional fees.

In this workshop we also discuss handling family conflict and the importance of open communication. Some of you may think this topic is not valuable, but in previous succession workshops oftentimes this topic is the most-discussed and most-appreciated by the end of the training.

The main goal of a farm succession plan is to satisfy the goals/wishes of the owner while helping to set a strong foundation for the successor to be able to succeed in the transition. Ideally the transition will happen long before death happens.

In order for this plan to work, it needs to be legal and in writing. Many family farms have been ruined due to arguments over inheritance between family members. A succession plan can help to avoid these situations and allow for an easier transition after a loved one retires from farming or passes away.

Future life changes can be a hard topic to think about. For the future of farming and ranching, it is essential that a succession plan be put in place to help keep agriculture strong and thriving in our community. Many agriculture operations have been lost due to the lack of a succession plan when the owners wanted that operation to continue for generations.

Family conflict and financial difficulties are just some of the problems that are commonly seen when no succession plan is put into place. To illustrate the need for succession planning, the following are some statistics from the USDA-agriculture census in 2017. Of the 2,439 agriculture producers in Cache County, 733 of these producers are above the age of 65 — that is 30% of all agriculture producers in Cache County. On the other hand, there are only 220 producers under the age of 35, which is only 9% of the agriculture operators in the county.

Over the past decade, we have seen a transition where agriculture operators’ average age has gone up. Not many young producers have the means or resources to start a farm at such a young age. However, many of these young producers could have an opportunity if farm succession is done right. Having a farm succession plan helps preserve agriculture, ensuring that the next generation has the opportunity to continue farming and ranching.

For those of you who have been contemplating questions about farm succession or hesitating in starting your plan, here is your chance. The farm & ranch succession workshop can help you begin the process and answer any questions regarding succession plans. If there are any who struggle with health problems or are susceptible to the coronavirus we are also offering the workshop virtually those same nights and times.

If you are interested in doing the workshop virtually, please still RSVP with Megan at the Extension Office (435)752-6263, and tell her you would like to attend virtually. I am excited for this workshop and hope to see you there!

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