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Farm succession training for professionals who serve farmers

Update: Attorney & Financial Advisor Seminar scheduled for May 2020 has been postponed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch for more updates this summer! Meantime, check out our Toolbox for professionals for helpful resources or contact us for individualized support.

With a grant from Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), we will host unique training opportunities for professionals across New England who offer, or want to offer, support to farmers in transfer and succession planning.
Older farmer couple, potential succession planning candidates, shown holding hands in the middle of their farm field

Over 10,000 New England farmers are likely to exit farming in the next decade. Many lack adequate farm transfer or succession plans. Without the proper resources and support, many farms will go out of production or become part of larger farms, further reducing the opportunities for next-generation farmers to acquire and grow viable farms. Succession planning resources and workshops for farmers are widely available. However, training and networking for attorneys, financial experts and other farm service providers are scarce. 

We know that educating farmers is not enough. Farmers need skilled and knowledgeable professionals who can work as a team to help them complete and execute succession plans.

Farm succession planning is a complex, multi-component process. This is best approached with a coordinated team of advisors. This NE SARE project will allow us to continue to address the need for more trained advisors in the coming year,” says Shemariah Blum-Evitts, LFG’s Program Director.

Join us in improving teamwork and capacity to do farm succession planning! Several professionals have indicated in the past that they have a strong desire for more training and that they prioritize succession-related professional development. “Do more of these sessions!” “Hearing from practicing professionals was great.” “Networking and mentoring were so valuable.”

Attorney & Financial Advisor Seminar

LFG and collaborating partners will host an intensive 2-day seminar for attorneys and financial advisors focused on the technical, legal, and financial components of succession plans. This will include entity selection, asset transfer methods, estate planning, tax considerations and health care planning, materials from LFG’s Farm Succession Advising: Attorney Training Compendium, and more. This seminar will also be a unique opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and network-building, designed with a combination of presentations, small group case and problem-solving clinics, and round-table “best practice” discussions.

More information available at landforgood.org/events. Registration to open soon!

Service Provider Conferences in each New England state

In order to expand and deepen the expertise of the “succession planning team,” we will hold a training in each New England state this fall, which will bring together a diverse group of farm service providers and professionals concerned about farm succession and transfer planning. These trainings will be designed for other service providers—extension staff, conservation groups, mediators, farm link programs, land trusts, and non-profit agriculture service providers—so they can better play succession advising and support roles in their state. It will be an opportunity for this diverse range of providers to learn skills, understand each other’s work, and build a referral network in the state. 

These one-day, cross-disciplinary trainings will focus on: succession planning basics; networking and team methods; soft issues (family communications, goal-setting, assessment); and case clinic practice, as well as discussions on how to identify client needs, find other providers, communicate disparate content, and problem solve with other providers. We will explore how to effectively support a farm succession planning process using a “team approach.”

More details to be available in spring/summer 2020.

Ongoing Professional Network Support

Professionals will also benefit from continued support. Attendees from these various trainings will be invited to participate in ongoing case-sharing and support conference calls. LFG staff and collaborators will host several calls in each state to further bolster the network of service providers. The calls will focus on participants sharing the work they are doing with farmers, questions, challenges, and successes. It will be an opportunity for further peer learning and sharing across the network to strengthen service relationships. 

Please share with any service providers you feel would be interested.

We look forward to learning with you!

 

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 under subaward number ENE19-155: Improving Professional Capacity to Deliver Farm Succession Planning Assistance in New England.

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