Farm families face unique issues concerning retirement and succession planning (who will own and/or manage the farm when the current owner is no longer able). Farming is a business which has evolved into more than just a way of life. Now, successful farming includes in-depth financial planning, implementing and evaluating new enterprises, new techniques, new tools, and planning future ownership and management of the farmstead. Many times, unfortunately, “exit” strategies for retirement and succession of leadership are often overlooked. The question, “Who will continue the farm?” is just as important as assessing the value of land, equipment, and livestock. The first step, which is often the hardest, in building a succession plan is to include and communicate with family members about the process. Some questions to get the conversation started with your family include:
- How do I become financially stable?
- How do I retire well?
- What do I need to do to secure the future of my farm?
To help with this important process, the University of Florida IFAS Extension faculty in the Panhandle are offering a newly developed personal finance and succession planning program for Florida farmers and their families called AgSave$. Farmers and their families involved with any agricultural industry are invited to join our Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam, in a proclamation for the kick-off event, the AgSave$ Summit, at the UF/IFAS Extension Jackson County office on February 23, 2015 from 9am-1pm (CST) in Marianna, Florida. This first event is free of charge, and will focus on the importance of succession planning. Lunch is also provided free, thanks to our generous sponsors, Farm Credit of Northwest Florida and America Saves. Registration for the AgSave$ Summit is being offered online at: bit.ly/AgSavesSummit, or by calling your local Extension office.
Following the initial “Summit,” you may wish to enroll in our AgSave$ Workshop Series beginning on March 24, 2015. This four session series of interactive workshops will focus on the basics of securing your farm’s financial future and will be offered locally in County Extension offices across the Florida Panhandle. The cost of this series is $55 for the entire family (up to four members). In addition to learning from our featured speakers, which are experts in the field of financial planning, participants will receive a Farm Journal Legacy Project Workbook to help walk your family through the succession planning process. For more information on these programs, please feel free to contact Mark Mauldin, 638-6180.