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Meet your presenters:

Farm Succession Training for Legal & Financial Professionals

Nicholas Bullock Nicholas Bullock, EA, Senior Farm Tax Specialist, Yankee Farm Credit, ACA. Nicholas has extensive experience with agricultural enterprises, partnerships, corporations, other small business returns, IRS field audits, and QuickBooks. He is a graduate of Lycoming College, a member of the American Society of Agricultural Consultants, and a past President of the Vermont Tax Practitioners Association. Nicholas is a Senior Farm Tax Specialist at Yankee Farm Credit after having his own Income Tax practice for ten years. Email:


Mark Cannella

Mark Cannella, Extension Associate Professor- Farm Business Specialist, UVM Extension. Mark is an Associate Professor and Farm Business Management Specialist with the University of Vermont Extension. He has been working in the field of agriculture in VT since 2001 in vegetable production, maple sugaring and agricultural education. He currently directs UVM Extension Agricultural Business programs with a focus on the management and delivery of farm and forest business planning programs, financial analysis and applied business research to a broad audience. Mark works directly on maple economics projects throughout the Northeastern United States. Email:

Richard Cavanaugh

Richard Cavanaugh, Attorney, Common Grow, LLC. Attorney Cavanaugh formed Common Grow, LLC, to provide legal services to protect and cultivate the beauty and purpose of farmland in our communities. Those legal services include business organization and governance, real estate transactions, farm succession planning, regulatory compliance, and other areas of interest to those in the agricultural sector. Before that Attorney Cavanaugh was a founding partner of the law firm, Gallagher & Cavanaugh LLP, in Lowell, Massachusetts, where his litigation practice included product and professional liability, construction, employment, motor vehicle, premises, environmental, liquor liability, and commercial cases. He is a graduate of Boston College Law School and Boston College. Prior to law school, he served as a Congressional press secretary and legislative assistant on agricultural issues and served on the staffs of a number of Presidential, Senatorial, and Congressional campaigns. Email:

William Dakin

William Dakin, Attorney/ CPA, Kahan Kerensky Capossela, LLP. Attorney Dakin has been in private law practice for over 30 years and practices primarily in the areas of probate, estate planning, elder law, business planning, and taxation. He is a member of the American Bar Association Committee on Taxation and the Connecticut Bar Association Committees on Taxation, Estate, and Probate. Attorney Dakin is also a Certified Public Accountant and has served on various committees of the Connecticut Society of CPAs. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, the University of Miami (Florida) School of Law and received a graduate degree in taxation from Boston University School of Law. Attorney Dakin has also served as an adjunct faculty member of the University of Hartford Graduate Tax Program. He has practiced as a public accountant for three years, addressing a wide variety of tax matters. Email:

Paul Dillon

Paul Dillon, Attorney, Paul Dillon Attorney At Law. Attorney Dillon is an attorney with a solo practice in Corinth, Maine since 1992, where he focuses in the areas of estate planning, business law, charitable planning, elder law, and probate law. He has worked with several farm families through the years to help plan for their family farm succession. Attorney Dillon is a past adjunct professor at Husson University in Bangor, Maine where he taught Estate Planning and Taxation for the continuing education division. He is a member of WealthCounsel, LLC and ElderCounsel, LLC. He earned his B.S. degree from Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana and his J.D. degree from the University of Tulsa College of Law, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Email:

Mike Ghia

Mike Ghia, Vermont Field Agent, Land For Good. Mike assists farmers with business planning and financial management as well as assists families with farm succession and transfers through the Vermont Farm and Forest Viability Program. Through Land For Good, Mike also coaches farmers and landowners on farmland access, tenure, and transfer as well as assists with the development of tools and technical resources to help farmers and landowners with farmland tenure and transfer issues. Email:

Jon Jaffe

Jon Jaffe, Farm Business Consultant, Farm Credit East. Jon was born and raised on a 60 cow dairy farm in upstate New York. Jon has worked for Farm Credit East for over 37 years with his responsibilities ranging from loan officer, assistant branch manager, tax specialist, and farm business consultant. He has worked with a wide range of farm businesses in New England and New York. In more recent years Jon has focused his efforts on his Farm Business Consultant work, providing strategic business analysis, farm succession/estate planning, tax consulting, and other consulting services to his clients. He has also served as board member of Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (10 years), the Economic Development Committee of the Cranberry Country Chamber of Commerce and the finance committee of Plymouth area Habitat for Humanity. Email:

Vanessa Johnson-Hall

Vanessa Johnson-Hall, Assistant Director of Land Conservation, Essex County Greenbelt Association, Inc. Vanessa brings 16 years of experience in land acquisition, conservation restrictions, and a passion for working with people to her position at Greenbelt. Vanessa evaluates acquisition and conservation projects, and fundraises through grant writing, coordinating partnerships and negotiating conservation outcomes. Vanessa also develops and delivers educational programs for landowners, municipalities, and farmers. Email:

Kelly McAdam

Kelly McAdam, Agricultural Business Management Field Specialist, UNH Extension. Kelly joined UNH Cooperative Extension in 2011 after teaching high school business education for seven years. Kelly grew up on a small family dairy farm in northern New Hampshire, and managed the farm’s retail vegetable operation for several years before pursuing her career in education. Kelly holds an associate degree in applied science in horticultural technology from Thompson School of Applied Science at UNH, a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Plymouth State University, and a master’s degree in business education from Southern New Hampshire University. Kelly assists members of the agriculture community in Belknap County, and is a member of the Agriculture Business Management Team with a current focus on providing education in farm transfer, business and tax planning. Kelly is also a state coordinator for Annie’s Project, a farm business education program for women. What she enjoys most about her job is helping farm families pursue profitable enterprises to ensure the farm’s financial future. Email:

Allison Poirier

Allison Poirier, Attorney, Kahan Kerensky Capossela, LLP. Attorney Poirier joined Kahan Kerensky Capossela, LLP in 2013 and is an associate in the Vernon, Connecticut office where she practices in the areas of probate, estate planning, and real estate. Attorney Poirier is a member of the Tolland County Bar Association, the Connecticut Bar Association, and the Estate and Business Planning Council of Hartford. Attorney Poirier is a graduate of St. Lawrence University and Western New England University School of Law. Email:

Kathy Ruhf

Kathy Ruhf, Senior Advisor, Land For Good. Kathy has worked on farm access and transfer for over 30 years, most recently at Land For Good since 2004. She has written, consulted, taught, led projects and advocated on these issues and sat at many farmers’ kitchen tables. Kathy is a nationally recognized leader in farm entry, succession and tenure. She served as co-director of the New England Small Farm Institute for 17 years and on the USDA Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers for six years, and chair for two years. Kathy coordinated a regional network, the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) from its founding in 1992 until late 2012. She continues to work and write on farm and food policy as a NESAWG Senior Fellow. Email:

Mary Rose Scozzafava

Mary Rose Scozzafava, Senior Fellow, Conservation Law Foundation. Mary Rose supports sustainable agriculture and the local food economy as a Senior Fellow in the Food and Farm program at the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF). She works with CLF’s Legal Food Hub, a program that matches farmers and food businesses with pro bono legal assistance. While at CLF, she established the Legal Food Hub’s Resource Library to provide farmers with easy-to-understand explanations to commonly encountered legal issues. Mary Rose was previously a partner in the Intellectual Property department of Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Dorr, and currently serves as Board vice-president at Lexington Community Farm. Email: 

Erin Sherman

Erin Sherman, Attorney, Bergen & Parkinson, LLC. Attorney Sherman joined Bergen & Parkinson, LLC in Kennebunk, Maine in 2019 where she focuses on estate planning, trust administration, and business planning. Attorney Sherman also volunteers with Legal Food Hub, where she provides pro bono legal services to farmers, including assisting farmers with transitioning their farms to the next generation. In her spare time, she enjoys maintaining a homestead garden and taking road trips with her family. Email:

Ailla Wasstrom-Evans

Ailla Wasstrom-Evans, Associate Attorney, The Prue Law Group, P.C. Attorney Wasstrom-Evans’ practice areas include Land Conservation Law, Estate Planning, and Commercial Real Estate Law. Her passion is land conservation and she has helped many clients achieve their goal of conserving their land in perpetuity through legal mechanisms. She served on the Connecticut Land Conservation Council Model Conservation Easement working group. Prior affiliations include the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, Board of Directors; the Oliver Ellsworth Inn of Court, Barrister; and CLiCK, Board of Directors. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Michael’s College and studied abroad at The University of the Americas in Puebla, Mexico where she studied Mexican politics while improving her proficiency of the Spanish language. Attorney Wasstrom-Evans is an eastern Connecticut native. In her spare time, she enjoys the outdoors and spending quality time with her family. Email:

Learn more

Farm Succession Training for Legal & Financial Professionals
September 21st & 23rd
Join us for a two-day virtual training! Legal, financial & business professionals will strengthen their knowledge and skills for working with transitioning farmers and families across New England.

Any questions? Please contact Shemariah Blum-Evitts, Program Director, at

Planning Committee

Special thanks to each member our Planning Committee for their time and efforts in organizing this unique training to improve professional capacity to deliver farm succession planning assistance across New England.

  • Gary Anderson, Animal & BioScience Specialist Emeritus at University of Maine
  • Shemariah Blum-Evitts, Program Director, Land For Good
  • Mark Cannella, Extension Associate Professor- Farm Business Specialist, UVM Extension
  • William Dakin, Attorney/ CPA, Kahan Kerensky Capossela, LLP
  • Paul Dillon, Attorney, Paul Dillon Attorney At Law
  • Mike Ghia, Vermont Field Agent, Land For Good
  • Jon Jaffe, Farm Business Consultant, Farm Credit East
  • Vanessa Johnson-Hall, Assistant Director of Land Conservation, Essex County Greenbelt Association, Inc.
  • Kelly McAdam, Agricultural Business Management Field Specialist, UNH Extension
  • Allison Poirier, Attorney, Kahan Kerensky Capossela, LLP
  • Kathy Ruhf, Senior Advisor, Land For Good
  • Mary Rose Scozzafava, Senior Fellow, Conservation Law Foundation
  • Ailla Wasstrom-Evans, Associate Attorney, The Prue Law Group, P.C.

Additional resources

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)