Transitioning a farm to the next generation is one of the biggest challenges that farm owners and beginning farmers will face. The decisions made can affect families, finances and rural communities for decades into the future.
That’s why Iowa State University’s Farm Transitions Conference, slated for Feb. 9-10 in Ames, will bring together experts and experienced landowners from a wide range of backgrounds with the goal of improving the farm transition process.
Bankers, attorneys, tax professionals, mediators and family farmers will all be part of this year’s event, to be held at the Gateway Hotel. Attendees will hear from professionals who deal with all parts of farm transitions – those looking to exit farming, those looking to enter or expand, and those who simply want to review their existing succession plans to ensure they are current.
“The conference is a great way for landowners, beginning farmers and anyone who plays a role in farm transitions to improve their knowledge about farm succession,” said Kitt Tovar Jensen, Beginning Farmer Center manager with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “The goal is to provide attendees with a better understanding of their current situation and the actions they need to take to improve their situation – with the hope that we can improve the farm transition process wherever they live and farm.”
The conference is being held at a time when farmland values are at historic highs, followed by high commodity prices and a period of rising interest rates. The average acre of Iowa farmland increased 17% this past year, to $11,411, according to the annual land value survey conducted by Iowa State.
Chad Hart, professor in economics and extension grain markets specialist at Iowa State, will open the conference with his “Ag Market Outlook,” followed by a talk on “Major Financial Decisions for Farm Transitions,” presented by Alejandro Plastina, associate professor in economics and extension economist at Iowa State.
Jim Knuth, vice president of business development with Farm Credit Services of America, will discuss interest rates, land values and how to approach and work with lenders.
Leslie Miller and Nancy Brannaman, associates with the Farm Financial Planning Program of ISU Extension and Outreach, will present on “Raising Your Financial IQ.”
On the second day, participants will hear from Kiley Fleming, executive director of the Iowa Mediation Service, who will discuss “The Importance of Family meetings on the Farm.” Jennifer Harrington and Kristine Tidgren, of the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation, will present “Legal Tools and Strategies in Farm Succession Planning,” and “Business Entities and Transition Taxes.”
The conference will conclude with a talk on “Preventing Mistakes in Farm Succession Planning,” by Tovar Jensen, and “Planning for the Unexpected,” by Patrick Hatting, farm management specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.
In-person attendees will have networking opportunities, including an optional tour of Jack Trice Stadium (limited to 50). Both in-person and online attendees can interact with speakers and ask questions. All attendees will receive a free Farm Transitions workbook.
In-person registration is $175 per person and webinar-only registration is $150. Participants can choose and register online.
Groups of two or more can use code GROUP50 to receive $50 off each in-person registration. (Does not apply to student registration).
University or college students can register in-person or online for $100. To apply for student scholarships, contact Tovar Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gateway Hotel & Conference Center is located at 2100 Green Hills Drive, Ames, IA 50014. A room rate of $114 has been reserved. Reserve your room online or call 515-292-8600.
About the Authors:
Kitt Tovar Jensen
Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation