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Want to pass on the family farm? Start with a plan.
posted in: Heritage
by Valerie Hawkins

5 steps to keep “family” in family farm

For many farmers, their biggest goal is to keep their farm in the family.

We teamed up with farm succession planning expert, Dr. Ron Hanson, for tips on how to get started. He gave us five steps to help you get started on your farm legacy plan.

1. Adopt a vision

Parents should talk to each other about their own expectations of their farm. Is the goal to keep their farm in the family for their adult children? Or future generations, like grand kids?

2. Draft ideas into a plan

Once you identify that vision, share it with the entire family. This is a chance for everyone to discuss ideas, feelings and concerns. Document the feedback in writing and update it often.

3. Organize planning resources

Now it’s time to assemble your farm succession team. Each person plays a crucial role to help you develop your plan.

- Accountant or CPA

- Farm Loan Officer

- Estate Planning/Wealth Management Specialist

- Attorney

4. Clarify family member assumptions

Frequent family meetings are important during this entire process. Make sure you involve everyone– including farming and non-farming children. Everyone’s opinions and feelings matter when it comes to the family farm.

5. Take control and set deadlines

It is critical to take action and get a plan in place. Break down your plan and add deadlines and goals to each step. This will make it more achievable and less stressful.


Most importantly, it is never too early to prepare your farm for the future. But it can be too late. Find a local rep to see how we can help you get started today.

Dr. Ron Hanson

Ron Hanson has counseled and worked with farm families for more than 40 years. Through his publications and professional travels, Ron is a recognized keynote speaker on the topics of farm ownership succession planning and continuing farming legacies for the next generation of family farmers. To learn more about Dr. Hanson, visit

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