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Succession Planning

Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics

 

Farm and ranch succession planning is the transfer of management and assets to a new generation. The aim is to conduct the transfer in such a way that the business remains at least as viable for the next generation operator as it is currently, while meeting the needs of the retiring generation.

 

Background

A farm or ranch is much more likely to be passed from generation to generation than a non‐farm business. This makes succession critical to the economic viability of the ag business and the continuation of the family farm (let alone the happiness of the family and partners involved).

There are four essential types of planning that go into a complete transition plan:

  • Business planning is aimed at the operation and improvement of the ranch or farm, including existing or new ventures, marketing, financial management, personnel management, production, and risk management.  
  • Retirement planning is aimed at preparing for the needs of the retiring generation, including financial planning.
  • Succession/transfer planning is aimed at bringing in a new generation of manager and/or owner and setting them up for success, including training plans, compensation plans, communication with next generation and off-farm partners, and the general improvement and transfer of knowledge and responsibility.
  • Estate planning is aimed at selecting and implementing appropriate legal tools to prepare for the transfer of ownership, including wills, powers of attorney for finances and health care, trusts, easements, life insurance and health insurance, and federal estate tax planning.

 

What we Offer

UW’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and UW Extension offer information, workshops and individual assistance, in partnership with collaborators, on farm and ranch management, retirement planning, succession planning, and estate planning, including mentoring, business plans, farm financing, communication skills, and other topics important to the transfer process. Contact Cole Ehmke or John Hewlett for more information.

 

Resources

 Resources that the UW AgEcon department has available include the following:

- AG LEGACY
A legacy is the summation of a lifetime of achievement and the context in which that lifetime will be remembered. A legacy is not just money but a reputation, what was accomplished, and the difference a person makes in the world. Legacy also embraces the concept of management succession; passing management of the farm or ranch on to the next generation. The AG LEGACY program is an effort to assist rural families in creating their own legacy by beginning the thought process and opening the lines of communication. For more information or to participate, see: AgLegacy.org.

- Western Farm Transition Strategies
A collection of ten case studies on farm transition models used in the West. Electronic copies are available for download at valueaddedag.org (along with other topics on ag venture management). Hard copies can be requested from Cole Ehmke or John Hewlett.

And in Spanish/ también en español: Estratagias de Transición para Granjas y Ranchos en el Oeste de los Estados Unidos

 

- RightRisk Courses
A Lasting Legacy course #1-
by Rod Sharp, John Hewlett and Jeff Tranel
A two-hour CD and internet-based course covering 1) Intergeneratational Relationships- Parent/Adult Child Relationships and Managing Intergenerational relationships, 2) Legacy Components- Values and Life Lessons and Personal Possessions of Emotional value in two modules and four lessons. Also included are a glossary, resource links for further research, and many other features.

A Lasting Legacy course #2-
by Rod Sharp, John Hewlett and Jeff Tranel
A two-hour CD and internet-based course covering 1) Final Wishes and Instructions- End-of-Life Issues, Pre-Death Wishes, and Final Instructions, 2) Financial Assets and Real Estate- Estate Planning, Financial Planning, and Transferring Real Property across two modules and six lessons. Also included are a glossary, resource links for further research, and many other features.

Workbook, A Lasting Legacy
by Rod Sharp, John Hewlett and Jeff Tranel
A workbook developed to accompany the RightRisk Lasting Legacy courses. This resource provides worksheets, forms and other materials to help document the four (4) components of a legacy: 1) Values and Life Lessons, 2) Personal Possessions of Emotional value, 3) Final Wishes and Instructions, and 4) Financial Assets and Real Estate.

Management Succession: Where Are We?-
by Rod Sharp, John P. Hewlett and Jeff Tranel
A two-hour CD and internet-based course covering: An introduction Management Succession, Interpersonal Issues, Business Issues, The Succession Planning Process, and Where Do We Go From Here? Also included are a glossary, FAQ list, resource links for further research, and many other features.

Management Succession: Where Do We Want to Go?-
by John P. Hewlett, Rodney L. Sharp, and Jeffrey E. Tranel
A two-hour CD and internet-based course covering: An introduction to Management Succession, Three (3) In-depth Family Case Studies, The Succession Planning Process, and Where Do We Go From Here? Also included are course resources, Best Succession Management Practices (BSMP)Lists, worksheets, and many other features.

Management Succession: How Do We Get There From Here?-
by John P. Hewlett and William Taylor
A two-hour CD and internet-based course covering: Journey to Management Succession, Beyond Goals for Change, and Where Do We Go From Here? Also included are a 120-page Management Succession Workbook, resource links for further research, and many other features.

Workbook, Management Succession
by John P. Hewlett, William Taylor, Rodney L. Sharp, and Jeffrey E. Tranel
A workbook developed to accompany the RightRisk Management Succession courses. This resource provides worksheets, forms and other materials to help individuals and families answer the three questions regarding succession: Where are We?, Where Do We Want to Go?, and How Do We Get There From Here?

Other RightRisk courses in risk management are also available.

 

- Passing It On: An Estate Planning Resource Guide for Wyoming’s Farmers and Ranchers
by Lucy Pauley, Alan Schroeder, Cole Ehmke and Carolyn Paseneaux.
A comprehensive guide to the estate planning process, with worksheets, guidance and chapters on most estate planning legal tools.  http://www.uwyo.edu/ces/passiton/passingiton.html

 - Wyoming Ag Ownership Network (WAGON). 
A program that helps match beginning ranchers with appropriate mentors, with the possibility of transferring land. 

 

Publications
Publications developed by individuals in the UW AgEcon department include:

- Planning Ahead, Difficult Decisions: Introduction to Estate Planning

- Planning Ahead, Difficult Decisions: Estate - Planning Checklist - Information to Assemble Before Consulting Your Attorney

- Planning Ahead, Difficult Decisions: After a Death - What Steps are Needed?

- Planning Ahead, Difficult Decisions: Wyoming Wills - Some Suggestions for getting the Most from Estate Planning

- Planning Ahead, Difficult Decisions: Death Certificates

- Planning Ahead, Difficult Decisions: A Walk Through Probate

- Planning Ahead, Difficult Decisions: Disinheritance

- Planning Ahead, Difficult Decisions: The Personal Property Memorandum

- Planning Ahead, Difficult Decisions: Guardianships and Conservatorships

- Planning Ahead, Difficult Decisions: Advance Health Care Directives

- Planning Ahead, Difficult Decisions: Durable Power of Attorney

- Seven Key Estate - Planning Documents to Consider


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