Surprisingly few farmers, ranchers and foresters have made a retirement plan. Only 27% of farmers have succession plans to transfer their farmland and farm business to the next generation, according to Katie Cavanagh, a fifth-generation farmer and Farm Succession Planning Program leader. Sound retirement and estate plans are critical to leaving a viable farm business and legacy. Many farmers want to keep their land in agriculture but need their land’s equity to support their retirement years.
A Farm Succession Planning Workshop, held at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, RI, addressed concerns for farmers, ranchers and forest/open space landowners. A panel of professionals explained many legal tools available for retirees and family members. Sponsors, Chuck Allott of Aquidneck Land Trust and Rupert Friday of the RI Land Trust Council welcomed attendees.
Cavanagh described her family’s 3-year transition process. She stressed the importance of planning for farm succession and involving all family members – siblings, children and anyone with a stake. Cavanaugh described their three-year process and the benefits of bringing in outside mediators. [Learn more here.]