Farm transition workshop approaching; win tickets to attend

February 4, 2022 | Bethany Baratta

A significant number of farmland acres will be transferred to the next generation of farmers in the coming decade. However, it’s estimated that fewer than 50% of those making the transition have a plan in place to make it happen.

According to Iowa State University, 60% of Iowa farmland is owned by people over the age of 65, and 35% of Iowa farmland is owned by those over 75. By 2024, landlords in the United States expect to transfer 91.5 million acres, or 10% of all U.S. farmland.

The way in which the land is transferred from one generation to the next could have a profound impact on the future of the farm business.

Rena Striegel, founder and president of Transition Point Business Advisors, wants to ensure a successful transfer of Iowa farms from one generation to the next. That’s why Striegel, who grew up on a dairy, hog, and row crop farm near What Cheer, developed a program to help others.

“There are a lot of resources out there for business transition, but those programs don’t really address some of the special considerations and concerns of farmers and agribusinesses in transition,” says Striegel, who created The DIRTT (Dedicated Internal Resource for Training and Transition) Project to help farmers develop and implement a farm transition plan.

As a Grassroots Supporter of the program, the Iowa Soybean Association is offering two farm families an opportunity to be a part of the three-day farm transition workshop March 2-4 in West Des Moines. Applications are open; two, two-person registrations will be given away by Feb. 20. Register here.

With deep roots to the farm herself, Striegel understands the attachment to the legacy and the memories that a farm holds—regardless of the on-farm involvement a person might have.

“There’s a special complexity of needing to include people in the planning who have never worked in the business,” Striegel says, “People who come from a farm are very invested in it.”

Here are just a few of the takeaways you’ll get while participating in the program:

1. How to communicate with family about a farm transition. “Communication is three-fold: communication about getting started, getting through the transition, and communication with the professionals serving you,” Striegel says. While going through the transition, there are also considerations about ways to communicate while performing the day-to-day tasks on the farm during the transition from one owner/operator to another.

2. Learn how to support a thriving business while going through a transition. “Thinking about the factors that are involved in a transition—costs, planning, transforming business practices—can paralyze the ability for the business to grow,” Striegel says. The Transition Point team guides families to and through these transitions.

3. Identifying your professional team. Farmers work with lawyers, CPAs and others, but for some, reaching out can be intimidating. “The professionals work for the farmer.  Unfortunately, in a transition process, that isn’t always what it looks like.  The professional may not be accountable to the work and the process stalls.  When this happens, it may cost a family months or years of unnecessary delay.” Striegel says. Learn how to identify your professional team, establish expectations for each team member, and more during this process.

In addition to the three-day event March 2-4 in West Des Moines, attendees will also have five follow-up sessions with group facilitators via Zoom following the conclusion of the in-person event.

“This keeps farm business transition front and center for one full year,” Striegel says. “Participants will have homework to complete as part of the process, but they’ll also have the accountability and support from their peers and facilitators.”

Learn more about the program and see the event agenda.