Friday, November 22, 2019 -
3:30pm to 5:00pm


Dollar East

Event Description

The average age of farmers in North America continues to increase. Meanwhile, increasing numbers of their children are choosing not to stay on the farm. A lot of young people are passionate about the idea of farming. But realistically, how many have either the resources or the knowledge to actually start a farm or purchase an existing one, especially if they haven't grown up on a family farm of their own? The issue of succession planning and land ownership on North American farms is critical, especially as large numbers of farms are likely to pass out of the hands of families who may have worked their land for a century or more. How can farmers who are ready to retire ensure the continuing viability of their farms while protecting their significant investment in land, buildings, livestock, and machinery? How do alternative models of ownership such as Land Trusts and cooperatives work with succession planning when the needs of the retiring farmers must also be met? Just as importantly, can retiring farmers ensure that both the vision and practices that fuel their own passion are adopted by a generation whose understanding and approach to farming may be entirely new? Are retiring farmers supervisors, or are they teachers and mentors? And at what point do they have to be ready to step back from imposing their own values on those who follow? As we look to the future, we need to find innovative models that will both inspire us and have practical application as we deal with the challenges of transition, succession planning, stewardship, and ownership of the land.


Workshop Session B