As we each traverse through our lives, we are presented with moments that make us pause and reflect on how precious the time is we have been given here on earth. I know this past year has been filled with such moments for many.
Death is a topic that many of us are not comfortable talking about. It is even harder to think about our own mortality. From my experience, death has the potential to bring a family closer or rip it apart. I hope the events of the past year have been a trigger for you to talk and think about how your family and your farm will operate once you are gone.
Preparing for the future
One of the hypothetical questions we pose in our Ohio State University extension farm succession workshops is, “What knowledge would you need to pass on if you knew you had only two months to live?”
This exact scenario happened to our family over a decade ago when my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I am grateful that we had the seven weeks with my dad to make preparations.
I challenge you to think how your farm and family would react to the loss of the principal operator. What knowledge and skills need to be transferred to the next generation so they can be successful without you? If there is no farming heir, what will happen to the farm? Will it be sold? Or does the family transition from owner-operator to an owner-landlord role?
To help jump start your family’s conversation, OSU extension will host a virtual three-part “Planning for the Future of Your Farm” workshop Feb. 15, Feb. 22 and March 1, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. via Zoom.
This workshop is designed to help farm families learn strategies and tools to successfully create a succession and estate plan that helps you transfer your farm’s ownership, management, and assets to the next generation.
Topics discussed during this series include the following:
- Developing goals for estate and succession;
- Planning for the transition of control;
- Planning for the unexpected;
- Communication and conflict management during farm transfer;
- Legal tools & strategies;
- Developing your team;
- Getting affairs in order; and
- Selecting an attorney.
This workshop will be taught by members of the OSU farm office team featuring Peggy Hall and Jeffrey Lewis, attorneys from the OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program, and David Marrison, extension educator for Coshocton County.
Because the program will be held virtually, it is a great opportunity for parents, children and grandchildren to join together regardless of where they live in Ohio or across the United States to develop a plan for the future of the family farm.
Pre-registration is required as one packet of program materials will be mailed to participating families. Electronic copies of the course materials will also be available to all participants.
The registration fee is $40 per farm family, and the registration deadline is Feb. 10. More information and online registration can be accessed at go.osu.edu/farmsuccession. I hope many of you will join us to start your plan or use the webinar series as a chance to review and refresh your existing plan.
For more information about this series, you can contact me at the Coshocton County Extension office at 740-622-2265 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To close today’s column, I would like to share a quote from Chuck Palahniuk who stated, “We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”
Have a good and safe day!
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