Is your farm prepared for the future?

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Hello, northeast Ohio! It is January, which means in the world of Ag Extension, planting season has begun!

Really, what crop is being planted in January?

It may seem strange to think of planting anything in January and February but these months are go-time for Agricultural Extension Educators as it is our prime time to share research and new ideas with farmers and other agriculture professionals.

We plant the seed of knowledge using scientific research and best management practices and fertilize it with common sense and realism.

Workshops

It is our hope that through our workshops our farmers grow in their knowledge and skills as professionals and increase their profitability.

In the realm of farm management, there are a plethora of programs which will be offered across the state for producers this winter.

A few of our local Extension offices are offering a Farm Management series as well as holding Ag Outlook and Farm Tax workshops.

During the past five winters, one of the farm management workshops we have conducted across Ohio has been the “Planning for the Future of Your Farm” series.

These workshops have been a great catalyst for farm families to develop a game plan for transitioning the farm to the next generation.

So has your family discussed the future of your farm business?

Eight years ago this May, our dairy farm was rolling along nicely and then my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

My dad fought a courageous battle against this disease for seven weeks before passing away. His diagnosis came right during planting season, which is one of the busiest times on a farm.

Farm succession

Two of the major questions I pose in our farm succession workshops are, “What knowledge would you need to pass on if you knew you had only two months to live?” and, “How would your farm react to the loss of the principle operator?”

As you sit by the fire this winter, I challenge you to think about the future of your farm. Challenge yourself to think about what knowledge and skills need to be transferred to the next generation so they can be successful without you.

Better yet, instead of just thinking about the future, I would encourage you to gather your family and join our farm succession team at one of this year’s “Planning for the Future of Your Farm” workshops.

These programs are rotated around the state each year and this year’s workshops will be held in Coshocton, Clinton, Darke, Knox and Williams counties.

Coshocton program

For folks in Northeast, Ohio, the Coshocton County program, scheduled for Feb. 23, will be your best bet.

Join us in historical Roscoe Village from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Montgomery Hall on the Central Ohio Technical College Coshocton Campus, 200 N. Whitewoman St.

During the program, we will examine ways to successfully transfer the management skills and farm’s business assets from one generation to the next.

We will also discuss how to manage the crucial conversations about the future of your farm and how to plan for retirement and the unexpected.

Register

The registration fee is $20, which includes lunch and one binder of the program materials per family. Additional binders can be requested for $15 each.

The class is limited to 40 persons and the registration deadline is Feb. 16. Payment options are credit card, check or cash. Registration and payment can be completed at http://go.osu.edu/coshfarmfuture.

Registrations by mail can be made by making a check payable to OSU Extension and mailing the registration form to OSU Extension- Coshocton County, 724 S. 7th St., Room 110, Coshocton, OH 43812.

For more information call the Coshocton County Extension office at 740-622-2265.

If you can’t make the Coshocton workshop, details for the other workshops can be found at u.osu.edu/ohioagmanager/farm-management-workshops/

Here for you

Our farm succession team is here to help you. In addition to our one-day or two-day workshops, we are also available to speak at other events and to conduct kitchen-table meetings with your farm family.

If you are interested in learning more about how to successfully transition your farm to the next generation, please email me at marrison.2@osu.edu and I will be happy to dialogue with you.

To close today’s column, I would like to share a quote from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross who stated, “It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth — and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up — we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”

Have a good, and safe 2018!

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