Attendance boasted more than 220 people at the K-State Farm Succession workshop held last this month. Registrations closed once they reached 220, and over 50 people indicated they wanted to attend but were not able to due to the workshop already being full.
Ron Hanson, was the main workshop presenter, and he shared with the group his expertise of over 39 years of counseling and advising farm families. His take-home message was so important — that planning is necessary to make a successful transition, communication is necessary amongst all family members about the plan, and before any plan can be truly successful, any family conflicts must be dealt with. He shared many examples of families that failed to plan, planned but didn't share their plan, family conflicts that held up or terminated the plan, and also plans that were done successfully. Evaluations of the program were very positive.
K-State specialists were also part of the program. Their intent was to make farm families aware of the resources available to them to help them be prepared prior to meeting with their attorney or accountant. The Kansas Ag Mediation Service is available to provide mediation services to help resolve difficult situations. It is a confidential program, and can be reached by calling 1-800-321-3276. They also help by referring people to the farm analyst program, which is an educational service that helps facilitate business planning for families who farm. The K-State Farm Management Association was also on hand to help families understand how they should evaluate their operation to see if they can bring in another family member to the operation.
A good resource was designed and just made available for the event. It is titled "Transition Planning: 12 Steps to Keep the Family Farming". It can be requested by calling the McPherson County Extension Office at 620-241-1523.
Jonie James is a McPherson County Extension Agent for agriculture.