Thursday, September 8, 2011

Farm Succession Conference being held in Modesto, CA

Passing the Family Farm on to a New Generation – Farm Succession Conference

Modesto, CA. The average age of California farmers continues to rise, and beginning farmers face increasing barriers to entry. If you are a farm owner, who will run your farm when you retire or are no longer capable? What can you do to help ensure their success? If you are a young farmer looking to get started or expand, how can business planning prepare you for success? What programs and strategies can help you finance your farm or ranch enterprise?

These are some of the issues that will be addressed during a two-part conference hosted by California FarmLink this winter, with support from the US Department of Agriculture. The first day of the conference will be Saturday, October 15, and the second day on November 19, 2011 at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Modesto.

"There are eight farmers over the age of 65 for every one under 35 years old in California. We are working to make sure the next generation has a chance to continue California's agricultural tradition," says Steve Schwartz, former Executive Director of California FarmLink. FarmLink is an eleven year-old state-wide nonprofit, helping new farmers find opportunities to lease or buy farmland by connecting them with retiring farmers and agricultural land owners. Staff members in three offices around the state are dedicated to facilitating farm and ranch transitions and providing other land, business and financing tools to farmers and ranchers. For more information about the organization’s linking program, technical assistance and financing opportunities, visit www.californiafarmlink.org.

"The long-term future of your family farm depends to a large degree on when you start talking about, and planning for, that future," says Schwartz. "This conference will help farmers of all ages clarify goals and identify tools that can help, whether or not they have another generation of family members committed to farming." Speakers at the event will bring expertise in estate and tax planning, farm business and management transfers, farmland conservation, and family communication. During the first day of the conference, families will begin setting goals and learning how to hold effective family meetings. They will be asked to do “homework” during the month in between conferences; then during the second part, families can expect to make significant progress on a real plan for keeping their land and businesses healthy and viable for the next generation.

To register for the conference, contact Nicole Alvernaz by email at nicole@cafarmlink.org or by phone at
(209) 525-4720