Farmers discuss farm succession planning and what works for them

One of the challenges that farmers face is transitioning a farm or ranch to the next generation.

Ron Gibson, a sixth-generation dairy farmer from Utah, went through the farm succession process when he bought the farm from his parents. Gibson was partners with his brother for more than 20 years before he and his wife became the primary owners in 2018.

“I had a conversation with my dad and said I’m here, this is what I want to do, you know who I am, but I have to have a little bit of security,” he says.  “My parents were very understanding of that and we put a plan into place to transition the farming assets to us.”

Ohio farmer Greg Corcoran returned to his family farm seven years ago and has since become a partner in the operation.

“I wish I would have known more…as a kid you grow up and know what it’s like to work on a farm, but you really don’t know what it’s like to be in that ownership position,” he says. “I wanted to come back and work on the farm but that’s not really what you need to do when you come back. You need to come back and learn.”  

The fifth-generation farmer says he’s learned a lot from the family members who came before him to make the farm successful.

Retired farmer Paul Kirsch says he worked with his daughter for several years before he transitioned his farm in Oregon to her.

“I told her you’re going to work for us for two years and we’ll see if this will work,” he says. “I could tell it was going to work. She shadowed me and after two years I could see she was going to make it go.”

The farmers spoke about the importance of having a conversation and a succession plan in place during the recent Farm Bureau FUSION Conference.

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