Farm/Ranch Transition When You Aren't In Control

Passing the farm/ranch on to the next generation is a tough job, especially if the next generation is unsure of what will happen when their parents pass. A farm and ranch transition workshop series designed for these people who are wondering what is going to happen is planned to be held in Valentine, Ainsworth, O’Neill, Norfolk and York from Oct. 23 to Nov. 14.

      The workshops will focus on the needs of the “sandwich generation” on whom farm/ranch transition and transfer often falls. This is the generation (Gen2) caught between parents who still own the land (Gen1) and the younger children who might want to join the operation (Gen3).   

      Lack of communication often hinders transitions. The “sandwich generation”, will learn how to communicate with family to understand the transition and practice asking difficult questions. A handbook and script will help farmers/ranchers to complete transition “homework.”

      Legal topics presented at the workshops will center on Gen2 needs, including elements of a good business entity, levels of layers for on-farm heirs control and access, and turning agreements into effective written leases. Joe Hawbaker, estate planning attorney, and Allan Vyhnalek, Nebraska Extension transition specialist, will share stories and experiences to successfully plan on the legal side. 

      Transition of the land is important, but farmers and ranchers should also work to transition the business. Dave Goeller, financial and transition specialist, will cover financial considerations, retirement, and compensation versus contribution.

      Many families struggle to split assets fairly between on-ranch and off-ranch heirs, while continuing the ranch as a business. Goeller will discuss the family side and what to consider when dividing assets.  Vyhnalek will also cover less-than-ideal situations, negotiating, and looking for other business options.

      The workshop in Valentine is scheduled for October 23 at the Niobrara Lodge from 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM CT.  Contact the Extension Office at 402-376-1850 or e-mail jjenkins2@unl.edu to pre-register by Oct. 19.   There is a $20 fee per person.  If more than two people are attending per operation, the cost is $15/person.