Farm and Ranch Transition

Upcoming workshops focus on farm/ranch transition when you aren’t in control

A rancher once said, “No one has the right to automatically inherit a family farm or ranch… but everyone has the right to know what is going on.”

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. It is especially for those people, who are wondering what is going on, that a series of farm and ranch transition workshops are planned at Valentine, Ainsworth, O’Neill, Norfolk and York from Oct. 23 to Nov. 14.

The workshops will focus on the needs of the “sandwich generation” between parents who still own and land and children who might want to join the operation, on whom farm/ranch transition and transfer often falls.

Lack of communication often hinders transitions. The Gen2, or 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 around 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.

Below are workshop dates and locations. The times are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. local time at each location. Pre-register one week prior for a meal count.

Oct. 23, Valentine, contact Jay Jenkins, 402-376-1850,

Oct. 24, Ainsworth, contact Jace Stott or Chandra Murray, 402-387-2213,

Oct. 25, O’Neill, contact Amy Timmerman, 402-336-2760,

Nov. 13, Norfolk, contact Allan Vyhnalek, 402-472-1771,

Nov. 14, York, contact Jenny Rees, 402-362-5508,

Cost is $20 per person. If more than two people are attending per operation, the cost is $15/person.  Pre-register one week prior for a meal count to the local extension office. 

Funding for this project was provided by the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Award Number 2015-49200-24226.