The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 2, 2014

Extension announces program on transfer of farms to future generations

From staff reports
The News Courier

— For many families working to transfer a farming operation from one generation to the next, it’s not the legal, financial and technical issues that prove most challenging.  As many families have learned from experience — often bitter experience — the biggest challenge often involves ensuring that this transition occurs on the basis of open communication and trusting relationships among family members.

With interest in farm succession planning on a steady rise, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System will hold a series of seminars in February to provide farm families with tools to better ensure operations are passed as successfully and seamlessly as possible from one generation to the next.

Workshops are scheduled throughout Alabama in February dealing with two-generation farm business transitions. 

The local session is set for Feb. 17 at the Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center in Belle Mina.  Other sessions will take place Thursday at the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center in Headland and Feb. 27 at the Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center in Crossville.

Anyone interested in learning about the factors for success associated with transferring a farming operation across generations is encouraged to attend.

The workshops will help families assess the feasibility of two-generation farming operations and how to develop the communication and human relationship skills essential for success. Families will also be advised about the most effective ways to transfer ownership and management responsibilities and to divide business income.

The training will also identify the factors most essential for securing a business arrangement that serves both generations.

“What we want to accomplish through these workshops is to give families an overview of the farm business transfer process — the key factors they need to discuss as a family before they proceed with planning,” said Dr. Paul Brown, associate director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Dr. Brown is a farm economist who will teach part of the session.

The workshops will explore a four-stage transfer process whereby ownership, management and income are transferred from one generation to the next using a series of business arrangements.

These workshops will begin at 5:15 p.m. with registration, followed by dinner.

In addition to Paul Brown, other speakers will include Dr. Francesca Adler-Baeder, Alabama Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Human and Family Studies at Auburn University, and Dr. Robert Tufts, an attorney, Alabama Extension specialist and professor in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

Preregistration is required one week before each scheduled program so meal arrangements can be made and materials prepared. 

For more information and to register for the class, contact Nan Chambliss of the Alabama Extension Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Programs at 334-844-4450.