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Returning to the Farm Seminar

Returning to the Farm (formerly known as Ag Link) is a series of hands-on workshops for multigenerational farms. Topics include conflict resolution, goal setting, business analysis, estate planning, farm planning, and management, which are viewed differently because of distinct and sometimes conflicting goals and endowments of capital, labor, technical knowledge, and management expertise. ISU Juniors and Seniors have the ability to apply for course credit for this seminar. For more information on these seminars call 1-877-BFC-1999.

Ag Link for Beginning Farmers

Submit an online application for Beginning Farmers.

  1. (Using the online form is the preferred method). If you would prefer, you can print it and e-mail, mail or fax. You can download it paper application (currently unavailable), type your responses in the fields, then print and mail or fax (you can not save the form once completed unless you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat software).
  2. If you are not an Iowa resident, there is a $50 registration fee for beginning farmers. Include a check made out to Iowa State University with your application.
  3. When the Ag Link Coordinator receives your application, he will place the information in our database of those interested in the program.
  4. When a retiring farmer contacts us to help find an interested beginning farmer or farm family, we go to our database to begin the matching process.

Meanwhile, as you wait for an opportunity to open you need to carefully consider the following items:

  • Do you have the knowledge needed for the type of agriculture you want to enter?
  • Do a financial analysis of your assets and resources so you are prepared to talk about what you can contribute to the farm business. Your assets may be mainly in labor and educational skills. Or you may have some of your own machinery. You need to be able to show what you can contribute towards the farm business.
  • Do you have financing available or will you require financial help from the landowner?
  • Are you aware of the Beginning Farmer Loan Program through the Iowa Agricultural Development Authority? You can obtain information on their program by calling 515-281-6444.
  • Are you taking steps to learn about the Beginning Farmer Loan Program by contacting your Farm Service Agency or your local bank?
  • Are you a good communicator? Think about how you will tell a landowner about your goals, your desire to become part of an established farm business. How well do you express yourself in order to communicate with a potential partner in farming?
  • Think about your value system. If you are married, do you and your spouse have a similar value system as it relates to farming versus family issues, and other interests?
  • Have patience and be ready when you receive that important phone call from a retiring farmer who is looking for just the right person to transition his farm business to.

After you receive a call and an invitation to meet with a retiring farmer, you will be ready for the next step - meeting. What happens when you meet?

  • You will talk about your expectations and goals.
  • If your personalities gel and you both feel comfortable, together you will develop a transition plan to use as a guide as you begin working together.
  • We will help you complete a financial analysis of your farming operation in order to determine whether there is enough income for everyone involved to feel secure - that the finances are sufficient to meet expectations.
  • Each of you will exchange references - both personal and financial.
  • Both of you will talk to your own trusted advisors, such as your family, personal accountant, and lawyer, etc. to help you draw up a formal agreement based on your plan.

These are just a few examples of the many issues you need to think about. Entering farming is a big career step, but we're here to help you. Questions? Call Farm On at 1-877-BFC-1999.

Ag Link for Retiring Farmers

Your visit with the Ag Link Coordinator will help you get a clearer picture of what is involved in transitioning your farm business. He will help you begin making a plan for transitioning your farm business.

During the visit you will have a chance to look at applications from those interested in farming. You will call and arrange an interview with the applicants you select from our available list.

  1. You can complete an on-line application (preferred method) or contact the BFC for a printed application, type your responses in the fields, then print and mail or fax (you can not save the form once completed unless you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat software).
  2. If you are not an Iowa resident, there is a $100 registration fee for retiring farmers. Include a check made out to Beginning Farmer Center with your application.
  3. When the Ag Link Coordinator receives your application he will contact you.
  4. When the application is received the information will be placed in our database.

These are some of the items you may talk about during his visit:

  • What is your goal for the future of your farm business?
  • Is there enough income to bring a younger farmer into your business and to allow you to retire later with the income you expect?
  • If you have children not involved in your farm business, how do they feel about a non-related person becoming involved in the farm?
  • What values, education, and goals do you expect and want from someone joining your farm business?
  • What physical asset resources and personal resources (education, experience, skills, etc.) do you have to offer a younger farmer?
  • What are your expectations for retirement? How do you see yourself as a retired farmer?

Your visit with the Ag Link Coordinator will help you get a clearer picture of what is involved in transitioning your farm business. He will help you begin making a plan for transitioning your farm business.

During the visit you will have a chance to look at applications from those interested in farming. You will call and arrange an interview with the applicants you select from our available list.

What happens when you meet?

  • You will talk about your expectations and goals.
  • After you meet several applicants and find someone you are interested in, together you will develop a transition plan to use as a guide as you begin to work together.
  • We will help you complete a financial analysis of your farming operation in order to determine whether there is enough income for everyone involved to feel secure - that the finances are sufficient to meet expectations.
  • Each of you will exchange references - both personal and financial.
  • Both of you will talk to your own trusted advisors, such as your family, personal accountant, and lawyer, etc. to help you draw up a formal agreement based on your plan.

Questions? Call Farm On at 1-877-BFC-1999.

Current Opportunities

Available Opportunities in Iowa and out-of-state.

Iowa farm operations

  • 5000 acre corn, soybean and poultry. Central Iowa
  • 12,000 head swine operation plus 200 acre row crop Central Iowa
  • 550 acre row crop w/cow-calf operation SC Iowa
  • 800 acre cow-calf, sheep operation, EC Iowa
  • 220 acre row crop with confinement sheep facility West Central Iowa
  • 60 acres with fruit orchard Central Iowa
  • 50 acre custom feeding turkey operation Central Iowa
  • 23 acre beef, grain, ornamental nursery and vegetable farm East Central Iowa
  • 6 acre location for fruit and vegetable production West Central Iowa
  • 320 row crop and hay Central Iowa
  • 489 acres row crop and livestock operation NW Iowa
  • 1000 acre row crop w/12,000 head swine finishing, NE Iowa
  • 160 acres no-till row crop NC Iowa
  • 2200 acres grain farm WC Iowa
  • 250 acres head stock cows - Central Iowa
  • 312 acres row crop land (rental only) NC Iowa
  • 3500 acres row crop w/3000 sow farrowing operation - NC Iowa
  • 2200 acres row crop operation NW Iowa

Out of state operations

  • 1,000 acre Beef/ Grain/ Forage farm Mich.
  • 30,000 farrow to wean hog operations. Minnesota
  • 2,600 acre grain/beef farm. SW Kansas
  • 5500 acre grain and cow/calf operation. Central North Dakota
  • 3000 acre grain and forage form NE North Dakota
  • 2200 acre row crop S. Central Alabama
  • 900 acre row crop and beef operation Nebraska
  • 3 acre vegetable farm business - sale or lease WC Colorado
  • Organic fruit orchard and dairy goat business SW Illinois

Ag Link

Ag Link is a service to help preserve the family farm business by matching beginning farmers who do not own land, with retiring farmers who do not have heirs to continue the family farm business. Ag Link maintains a database of potential beginning farmers and landowners.

Ag Link is a service to help preserve the family farm business by matching beginning farmers who do not own land, with retiring farmers who do not have heirs to continue the family farm business. Ag Link maintains a database of potential beginning farmers and landowners. Browse our list of current opportunities.

Ag Link is for a beginning farmer who:

  • Wants to find a way to pursue or continue a farming career.
  • Has a desire to farm but lacks the financial means.
  • Will invest time, energy, resources and sweat equity in return for an opportunity to farm.
  • Is not a farm land owner.
  • Wants to avoid large debt needed for start-up costs.

Ag Link is for a retiring farmer who:

  • Plans to retire within the next 5 to 10 years
  • Does not have anyone to continue the farm business.
  • Has a desire for the farm business to continue.
  • Wants to help a beginning farmer.
  • Would like to take maximum advantage of tax savings, such as reduced capital gains and income tax.
  • Wants to help preserve their family farm business and their local communities by encouraging young Iowans to move into farming.