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Exiting farmers need attorneys and other service providers who specialize in farm succession

Retiring New England farmers have identified a need for help to prepare for, plan, and navigate the complex process of farm business succession. Over 10,000 New England farmers are likely to exit farming in the next decade. Many want technical assistance on specific aspects of succession and transfer. Most lack adequate succession plans. They need advisors with relevant, up-to-date expertise to support and guide them through the complex planning process.

Land For Good is hosting a two-day Farm Succession Training for Legal & Financial Professionals on September 21st & 23rd via Zoom to build this professional support. Presented by a diversity of professionals already working in the field, the training will strengthen the knowledge, skills and collaboration among legal, business and financial service providers who work with transitioning farmers and families in across New England. Professionals working with farmers, including experienced and new attorneys, law students, financial management consultants, business planners, and tax accountants are encouraged to attend.

To keep land in farming as it transitions from one owner to the next, we will need increased support services to exiting farmers,” said Shemariah Blum-Evitts, Program Director for Land For Good. “Farm transfer is a critical issue for thousands of farm families in New England–and nationally. At no point is a farm’s future more at risk than during this transition.”

Running a farm is hard work. Transferring that farm when the time is right can be even more difficult. Based on focus groups with exiting farmers, the Gaining Insights, Gaining Access study found that older farmers are concerned about retirement and many lack the knowledge or help to make sound transfer agreements. In general, many participants felt overwhelmed by succession. A number of factors played into this: lack of time to devote to it; complicated family dynamics; and issues around financial security and future farm viability. A worrisome trend is the small number of young operators working alongside these seniors. The lack of a young operator suggests that a farm’s future is uncertain, which is a cause for concern but also a possible opportunity for a young farmer.

I’ve identified several key issues that I need to be on the lookout for when speaking with farm clients,” shared a past participant. “I have a much better understanding of industry specific issues and challenges. And I now have resources to bring to bear and mentors to call upon if needed.”

Full price of this multi-session training helps cover costs of planning and delivery at $225. Cost should not be a barrier to attending. Half-price discounts and additional scholarships are available at time of registration.

This training is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (subaward number ENE19-155: Improving Professional Capacity to Deliver Farm Succession Planning Assistance in New England) as a two-year grant to Land For Good. We have been offering farm succession planning assistance to farmers and farm families in New England and training to other professionals across the U.S. since 2004. This project builds from our previous regional training activities.

Register now!

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