Published Jul 13, 2016

Ron Dunphy’s Six Positive Steps Toward Farmland Transfer

By Teresa Opheim

Ron Dunphy is tackling the tricky issue of farmland transfer on the land he owns with siblings and cousins near Creston. It will be a long road with many challenges and rewards along the way, but he is pushing ahead with determination. Ron has:

  1. Read as much as he can on the issues of farmland succession. He reports that was one of the most helpful resources.
  2. Documented his farm history and shared it with family.
  3. Developed an overall farmland goal, what he wants most for the land’s future: “the continuation of an iconic family farm.” He wants his grandson Colton and Colton’s future children to be able to farm the land 50 years from now if they want to.
  4. Worked to set up family meetings with the other farmland owners—no easy feat given they live all over the country and have other priorities and busy lives.


    Ron and Dottie Dunphy, Creston, pose before a recent camping trip.

  5. Developed clarity about what he would like to see accomplished at an upcoming family meeting: a) Progress on developing a legal structure of the farmland that will make it easier to transfer into the next generation; b) Acknowledgement of the extensive contributions made by family operators over the years as they become owners.
  6. Realized he can’t go it alone. He has interviewed several outside consultants and then hired independent facilitation to help the family at the upcoming family meeting.

For more on Ron and how, a half dozen years ago, he retired from active farming to let his son and nephew take over, see: