A farm business plan covers management, finance, marketing, and operations. Both the process of business planning and portions of the plan itself figure prominently in farm transfer. The business plan states the vision and goals for the farm business and influences the timetable for transfer decisions and actions.
Farm transfer planning is a process to determine how a farm will pass on to another farmer. The transfer plan addresses all pieces of the transfer puzzle—interpersonal, financial, and legal. It lays out a path for the transfer of farm management, income, and assets. A farm transfer plan typically addresses retirement needs, estate planning, changes in business structure, and conservation goals.
A retirement plan addresses how and where the retiring person(s) want to live and lays out plans for anticipated income and health care needs. An estate plan directs the transfer of assets upon death, and typically involved several legal tools. Both are core components of a farm transfer plan.
Typically, farm transfer requires addressing multiple legal issues and producing one or more legal documents. Business structures may need to be created or revised to facilitate the transfer. The resources gathered here will help farm families and professional advisers better prepare for their work together.
In this section you’ll find information about farmland rental, long-term leasing and other strategies that can be creative and effective components of a farm transfer. In many cases, tenancy and gradual transfer of the farm business and assets are win-win opportunities.
Discussing the farm’s future with your family is an essential part of the transfer process. This involves expressing personal and family goals, understanding differences, and finding ways to deal with conflict. Effective communication may require an outside facilitator. The resources in this section focus on goal setting and on strategies for maintaining open lines of communication.
The resources below focus on the role of farmland protection, land conservation and stewardship goals in a farm transfer. You’ll find information about conservation tools, creative land use options and how farmland contributes to the community’s well being as well as its bottom line.