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New UW Publication Highlights Farm and Ranch Succession Strategies

June 6, 2014

Farm and ranch managers and owners describe how they are bringing in a new generation to the land in a new free publication.

Cole Ehmke with University of Wyoming Extension, is the author of the publication “Western Farm and Ranch Transition Strategies.” He says it details methods 10 farms and ranches are using to build management capability, capital/equity or autonomy so a new generation can take over the family businesses.

"The risks of not having a transition plan can vary widely -- ranging from having increased stress and family strife to developing a low-profit trajectory,” says Ehmke, an agriculture entrepreneurship and personal financial management specialist. “Not building a well-designed transition plan remains a blind spot for many farmers and ranchers."

Planning to bring in new managers and their spouses, and planning for the senior generation’s exit from a business is a valuable investment, he notes.

A transition/succession plan can help outline what will happen with each agricultural enterprise and who will take over each management activity, based on a timeline and performance criteria and on discussions with family and business partners.

“Succession planning is a fundamental challenge facing the ag community over the next decade and beyond since a successful training program for a new manager could easily take five years, but many operations haven’t started planning yet,” Ehmke says.

For free hard copies available from the Wyoming Mediation Program, email Lucy Pauley at, or contact Ehmke at

Electronic copies are available at English and Spanish versions are offered.

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