Getting Started With Farm Transition

Thursday | 1-6:30 p.m. | CCAs: 4.5 CEU credits approved

Friday | 8-11:30 a.m. | CCAs: 3.0 CEU credits approved

Farm succession planning can take several years to complete, but the hardest part is getting started. In this course, we will identify the steps of a farm succession process, including how to clarify your goals and vision for the future, how to recognize and value the assets being transferred and how to determine the ways you can transfer those assets through trusts, land contracts and gifting.

We will also look at considerations for retirement and discuss strategies for maintaining relationships and talking with stakeholders who may or may not share your goals. This course will allow time for attendees to think through and apply discussed strategies to your farm and your circumstances.

This course is designed for any farmer or non-operating landowner, whether you are considering selling to your tenant, gifting to a nonprofit, negotiating with siblings or farming with the next generation. You will leave this course with a solid plan

Register for a short course


Session 1: Defining the Process; Clarifying and Communicating Your Vision

In this session we’ll identify the steps in a farm transfer and assess where you are in the process. We will also clarify your vison for the future and identify your goals for the transfer to help make decisions along the way. Finally, you’ll identify key stakeholders and their needs, and identify strategies to communicate clearly while strengthening relationships through the process.

Session 2: Assessing Your Financial Needs and Tax Options

In this session, we’ll take some time to assess your needs for the future and consider your financial position as you move forward with the transition. You’ll learn several ways to value the assets that are included in the transition and what to consider from a tax perspective. You’ll also identify what types of advisors you may need and what to look for when hiring them. Finally, you’ll identify what the recipient of the transfer will need through the process and consider strategies for transferring the business.

Session 3: Evaluating the Pros and Cons of Land Transfer Methods

This session will cover the potential ways you can transfer assets, including wills, trusts, gifts, long-term leases, sales and land contracts. We’ll consider the pros and cons of each strategy, discuss what the tax implications may be and consider what makes the most sense for your situation.

Session 4: Q&A with Legal and Financial Experts

We’ll begin the session with an hour-long Q&A with attorneys Kit Tovar and Ed Cox. Then we’ll talk about strategies to negotiate a win-win agreement when stakeholders do not share the same values or goals and how to communicate clearly, even during stressful encounters.

Finally, you’ll draw up a timeline and plan that includes what information you’ll need to gather, what your next steps are and how you will talk to stakeholders about the steps you’re taking to put a farm transition plan into place.


Martha McFarland is the farmland viability coordinator at PFI. In this role, she supports members through farm transition coaching and mediation, land matching for beginning farmers and tenant-landowner connections. She holds a masters degree in education from Colorado State University.

Kitt Tovar is staff attorney at the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation. She focuses on lease law, fence and property law, environmental and natural resource law, regulatory law and farm policy.

Ed Cox is a partner at Craver, Grothe & Cox, LLP in Centerville, Iowa. His practice areas involve estate planning and probate, farm and agricultural law, including business entity formation, farm leases and real estate transactions.

Stacy Mullinex is a program manager for Advance Iowa, with over 20 years of small-business experience, including owning her own company and consultation work. At Advance Iowa, she assists companies in providing strategic and financial valuation assessments and offers customized succession planning.