PLAN AHEAD: With 55% of Iowa farmland owned by someone 65 years or older, a major transfer in farmland ownership will take place in the near future. A new guide “Your Farmland and the Future: Setting Goals, Taking Action” can help you put a plan in place.

New guide helps farmland owners with succession

Owners, attorneys and service providers offer advice on transferring the farm.

Peoples Co. has released a new guide full of tips from farmland owners and other experts about how to tackle farmland succession. The guide, “Your Farmland and the Future: Setting Goals, Taking Action” was written by Teresa Opheim, senior fellow with Practical Farmers of Iowa.

According to Iowa State University economists, 45% of Iowa farmland is owned by those aged 65 or older. “Using conservative estimates, nearly 50% of Iowa farmland could transfer in some form or fashion over the next 20 years,” writes Steve Bruere, president of Peoples Co., in the guide.

Owners with plans share their advice
Many Iowa farmland owners offer advice in the guide, including Rick and Jane Juchems of Plainfield, who communicate often with their son and daughter about their legacy plans. “Our children need to know what is going on,” Jane says. “We are trying to get everything on the table so that no one’s expectations are inaccurate.”


Get more INSIGHT: Download Farm Succession Planning now!


Bob and Linda Lynch of Gilmore City share their strategies, such as life insurance and gifting of land, designed to ensure that their son Jay will be able to stay on the land and continue as the fifth generation of Lynches to farm.

Susan and Rob Fleming of Pennsylvania, share how they have used their farmland for income, conservation and acreage for beginning farmers. Other farmland owners share their advice, including:
• Write a “Farm Legacy Letter” to document where your farm has been and your hopes for its future.
• Join with other farmland owners to talk to and learn from each other.
• Start early in the legacy planning for your farmland.
• Put together a team to help you with the transition, which can be too complicated to go it alone.

Chris Soules of the TV show “The Bachelor” is the most famous farmer included in the guide. Chris will be one of the heirs to the family farm and stresses the importance of communicating “with all parties involved. There are a lot of groups and resources people can use to help mediate the entire process.”

Putting together a good succession plan
Attorney Gordon Fischer is a contributor to the guide and discusses the documents that should be part of most estate plans, including estate planning questionnaire, a last will and testament, power of attorney for health care, power of attorney for finances, disposition of personal property, and disposition of personal remains.

Other contributors are the consulting and accounting firm K-Coe Isom, the Beginning Farmer Center at Iowa State University and Home State Bank.

Peoples Co., based in the Midwest, provides client services in the areas of farmland brokerage, management, appraisal and investment. Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information sharing. Through its farm transitions work, the organization features farmers and farmland owners who are tackling the myriad issues surrounding the massive farmland transition that is taking place. To request a copy of the guide, contact Greg Van Den Berghe at [email protected] or call 515-232-5661.

Source: Practical Farmers of Iowa

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