Transitioning Business to the Next Generation

Ron Hook, farm management field specialist


The average age of farmers in northwest Iowa is increasing. Many of these farmers have not completed a transition plan to move their farm business to the next generation. There are many questions to be addressed in the process of preparing this plan.


During February 2003, John Baker, Director of the Beginning Farmer Center and Coordinator of the ISU Extension Farm On program, provided a workshop on estate and succession planning in Spirit Lake. The meeting was attended by 18 individuals including a mix of family groups and individuals. Dr. Baker presented ideas on conducting a family meeting, the phases of estate planning and explained some of the methods of transferring property. He also met one-on-one with as many operations as possible to provide them with information and suggestions for their particular situation.


In January 2004, surveys were mailed to participants. On a scale of one to five the rating given to this program was 3.88 with five being "very valuable". Twenty-five percent indicated that they had created an estate plan as a result of attending the workshop. Fifty percent said that they were in the process of creating a plan and twenty five percent said that they were thinking about getting started on their plan. When asked to indicate the value of this workshop to their farm business the average response was $320.
The following are responses indicating the most useful part of the workshop:

This was a topic I was very interested in so it was of great value. Mr. Baker made a person feel comfortable about asking a broad field of questions. Very patient and very knowledgeable.
Responses indicating suggestions for future programs were:

Page last updated: July 8, 2006
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