Fayette County Managing for Today and Tomorrow Class Wraps Up
By Lisa Scarbrough, ISU Women in Ag Communications Specialist
Thirteen women in Fayette County recently wrapped up Managing for Today and Tomorrow, a five-week class that teaches women about the importance of planning successful farm transitions. After five sessions of estate planning, transition planning and succession planning, Deb Kahler and Melissa O’Rouke celebrated a successful course.
“When this opportunity came along, I was very excited to bring it to our county and share it with folks in Fayette County,” Kahler said. Kahler is the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Office Manager in Fayette County. “I had a request for some estate planning,” she said. “Since Managing for Today and Tomorrow was available, I decided that it was a good fit.”
“Women that come to Managing for Today and Tomorrow are particularly interested in thinking about the future of their farm business,” said O’Rourke. O’Rourke is a farm and business management specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. "There’s a very high level of interest in estate planning, and transition and succession planning on the farm. If I were to name a number one area, that would be it,” O’Rourke added.
With this particular group of Managing for Today and Tomorrow participants, women are in all ages and all stages of life. “And in terms of stages, they are either transitioning into a farm business, or are transitioning to another generation and out of the farm business,” O’Rourke said.
Lisa Bahe is one of the younger women in the group and has an off-farm job as an ag lender in northeast iowa. Bahe decided to take Managing for Today and Tomorrow because she and her husband also farm. “We rent farm ground,” Bahe said. But they would like to continue farming. “Hopefully, someday we’ll be able to own farm land, and we’re hoping that transition will be a smooth process.”
As of January 1, Dalene Gosse and her husband started transitioning their farm operation to their two sons. “We’re thinking of retirement in a few years. We have adult sons who want to work together on the farm,” Gosse said. “They wanted to buy the market stock. And they wanted to buy machinery,” she added. But for now, she and her husband still own the land and will rent the land to their sons.
The women in this class, like so many other women in agriculture, are faced with significant challenges when it comes to their farm businesses, and Managing for Today and Tomorrow is a class that can provide resources and tools to help guide them as they make tough farm management decisions. “You need to be smart about things,” Gosse said. “It’s smart to take advantage of information like this when it’s handed to you, in your own community not too far away.”