Farm Succcession Planning

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.]


About Sanne Kure-Jensen

Sanne Kure-Jensen is a frequent contributor to Country Folks, Country Folks Grower and Wine & Grape Grower bringing regional and national attention to agriculture in RI and across southern New England. She has also written for newsletters of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), Holistic Management International (HMI), RI Beekeepers Association and RI Tree Council. Read Sanne’s work at her Sustainable Living page at Sanne has written successful grant applications for alternative energy projects, staff and board training, products and services. Clients include agricultural businesses, farm stand/markets and non-profit organizations. Recent successful grant projects include a $90,000 USDA Rural Development‘s Rural Energy For America Program (REAP), $10,000 Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Farmer and $20,000 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). Sanne is the part-time Administrator for NOFA/RI, a Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist and beekeeper. She is a NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professional and has lectured across southern New England on Beekeeping, Native Pollinators and Ecological Landscape Design. Learn more about the NOFA’s Land Care programs or contact Sanne for a garden consultation through the NOFA/RI website.
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