Iowa Farm Transition Case Studies

File C4-78
Written May, 2018

These Farm Transition Case Studies are to provide families and non-related parties considering a transition of their farm business from one generation to another, examples of how others in Iowa have negotiated this process.

Families and non-related farmers may want to use these cases for discussion as they begin their transition planning process.  They will find the ‘Business and Estate Management Tools’, ‘Keys to Success’, ‘Lessons Learned’, and ‘Transition Timeline’ sections particularly useful as they investigate their own path to transition

Agricultural classroom teachers, Extension outreach instructors and Farm Succession advisors may also find these cases useful with their students, adult learners, and clients to stimulate discussion and problem solving skills.

Iowa Farm Transition Case Studies: Loomis Family Farm Transition
The Loomis family from northern Iowa has recently completed a successful family farm business transition to the next generation. The transition of their row crop and swine farm spanned the first 22 years of the younger generation's farming career, was well planned and implemented gradually.

This case study highlights the transition planning process and timeline, tools used, the older generation's estate plan, lessons learned, and the Loomis's advice for other farm families considering a farm business transition. Questions about the family's current situation and possible future of the farm are included for family or classroom discussions.

Iowa Farm Transition Case Studies: Pursuing the Farming Dream
Justin Van Hof's route to become a farmer was nontraditional. He graduated from college, worked in his father's business and was employed in other professions, yet always returned to farming. It took 16 years, yet Justin has found his niche as a farmer working as a salaried manager for a large, diversified farming operation.

This case study highlights the transition planning process and timeline, tools used, lessons learned, and the Van Hof's advice for other individuals considering a career in farming. Questions about employee status and career opportunities are included for family or classroom discussions.

Related links:

Beginning Farmer Center
Ag Decision Maker Transition and Estate Planning


Margaret Smith, extension value added ag specialist, 641-430-9241,