Should I Continue Farming?

by:  Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR- Tuscarawas County

 It’s no secret that all of agriculture is suffering from years of low commodity prices and rising input costs. The economic struggles have affected you financially and physically. You’ve looked at the numbers, met with advisors, and talked to family.   The thought of selling part or your entire farm brings with it added worry and concern. What can you do?

Find someone you trust and with whom you feel comfortable discussing your situation. This person may not have many answers to your questions, but they can listen to your frustrations and worries. They may be able to help you sort through the confusion and develop a course of action. Think of your situation as a picture – a set of eyes looking at the picture from the outside may see things you can’t because you are caught up in the picture.

Understand that you are not alone. Nearly every farm and farm family is in a similar situation. Don’t live in the past or dwell on what could or should have been done. Take control of the situation and develop a plan for managing the things you are able to control.

Assessment

Evaluate your financial position by meeting with your lender to discuss options for restructuring debt. Can you extend the repayment terms to provide more cash flow? Contact your Extension Educator about completing a FINPACK analysis (https://farmprofitability.osu.edu/).

What are your Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding, and Timed (SMART) goals? How are your goals similar and different from those of family and/or business partners?

Develop a list of your education, experiences, and skills. How can you use these in another career? What career opportunities fit you best?

Evaluation

If you come to the decision that selling all or part of your farm is the best option, there are several items to address. Begin with a balance sheet and other financial information to understand your present financial situation. Doing so will help you decide how much money (and approximate number of assets) you must sell. You may want to meet with an appraiser, auctioneer, or real estate professional for help determining the expected value of assets.

Professionals

Your attorney can answer questions and advise you about legal considerations related to a sale. An accountant will help minimize your tax liability and give an estimate of what you may expect to pay in taxes.

Help is Available

There are people and agencies/organizations that can help with the transition and the emotions that come with the sale. Clergy, licensed counselors, and medical professionals can help you cope. Other sources of help include:

Ohio State University Extension (extension.osu.edu)

National Suicide Prevention (1-800-273-8255)

National Alliance for Mental Illness (1-800-950-6264)

Ohio Workforce Training (ohio.gov/working/training)

Ohio Job & Family Services, Office of Workforce Development (jfs.ohio.gov/owd)

Additional Information

Coming to the decision to sell all or a part of your farm is not an easy decision. Find someone with good listening skills. Talk to professionals, reach out for help, get answers, and make the best possible decisions. More information about this subject is available at https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/anr-71.

 

Landowners Leaving a Legacy

by: Amanda Douridas

Land is an important investment. One that is often passed down through generations. Farmland needs to be monitored and cared for to maintain the value and sustainability if it is to be enjoyed and profitable for future generations. Following the success of Lady Landowners Leaving a Legacy offered this past summer, Landowners Leaving a Legacy is open to everyone. If you want to learn more about your land, farming and conservation practices and how to successfully pass it on to the next generation, this program is for you!

Farming has changed dramatically over the last several decades. The thought of trying to understand it all can be overwhelming, especially if not actively farming. This series is designed to help landowners understand critical conservation and farm management issues related to owning land. It will provide participants with the knowledge, skills and confidence to talk with tenants about farming and conservation practices used on their land. The farm management portion will provide an understanding of passing land on to the next generation and help establish fair rental rates by looking at current farm budgets. We will also visit a local farm to view practices currently implemented and hear from the landowners involved.

The series runs every other Monday, February 25 – May 13 from 6:00-8:30 pm in the Champaign County Community Center Auditorium in Urbana, Ohio. It is $70 for the series. If you are only able to attend a couple of session, it is $15 per session but there is a lot of value in getting to know other participants in the series and talking with them each week. Materials and dinner included. The registration flyer can be found at http://go.osu.edu/agevents. For questions or more information, please contact Amanda Douridas at 937-484-1526 or Douridas.9@osu.edu. Please register by February 19. The detailed agenda is below.

Feb 25- Building Soil Structure

    • Introductions
    • Soil Structure Discussion and Demo
    • Tillage Methods and Compaction
  • Soil Coverage Discussion and Demo

March 11- Implementing Conservation

  • Conservation Activity
  • Aquifer Demonstration
  • Watershed Maps of Participants Farms
  • Explanation of Conservation Practices

March 25- Value of the Land Beyond the Dollar

  • Land Value Diagram
  • Landowner/Tenant Relationship Panel
  • Wildlife Habitat Programs

April 15- Transition and Succession Planning

  • Peggy Hall and Wright Moore Law Firm

April 29- Leasing and Budgets

  • Good Leasing Contracts
  • Hunting Leases
  • Overview of Commodity Budgets

May 13- Farm Visit

Some activities developed by Women, Food and Agriculture Network for its Women Caring for the Land program.

Farm Succession Workshop to Be Held in Celina

by: Denny Riethman, Extension Educator

A workshop on farm transition and succession will be held 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. January 30, 2019, at Romer’s Catering at Westlake, 1100 S. Main St., Celina. This event is designed to help families develop a succession plan for their farm business, learn ways to transfer management skills and the farm’s business assets from one generation to the next and learn how to have conversations about the future of one’s farm. Attendees are encouraged to bring members from each generation to the workshop. Featured speakers will include David Marrison, OSU associate professor; extension educator, attorney Robert Moore with Wright & Moore Law Co., Peggy Hall, OSU assistant professor and an attorney in agricultural law; and Denny Riethman, Mercer County OSU Extension educator. Registration is limited to the first 60 people. The cost is $20 per person and $30 per couple. The registration deadline is January 23. Contact the Mercer County OSU Extension Office at 419-586-2179 to register.

Topics covered during the workshop will include:

 • key questions to answer when planning for the future of the family farm business.  

• family communication in the farm-transition process.

• analyzing the family farm business/keeping the business competitive into the future. 

• providing income for multiple generations.

 • developing the next generation of farm managers

• farm succession with multiple offspring and family members: fair versus equal.

• retirement strategies.

• preparing for the unexpected.

• strategies to get farm and family affairs in order.

• analyzing risk in today’s world.

• long-term health-care issues and costs.

• farm business structures and their role in estate and transition planning.

• estate and transfer strategies.

• buy/sell agreements.

• trusts and life insurance.

• tax implications of estate and transition planning.

• information needed by an attorney

 

 

Agronomy and Farm Management Podcast

by: Amanda Douridas and Elizabeth Hawkins

Stay on top of what is happening in the field and the farm office as Amanda Douridas and Elizabeth Hawkins interview experts in agronomy and farm management. Hosted by Ohio State University Extension, this podcast takes a bi-monthly dive into specific issues that impact agriculture, such as: weather, land value, policies, commodity outlooks, and more.

This podcast began in May 2018 and has a great library of podcasts to choose from. This winter, we will feature some of the Ask the Expert interviews that occurred during Farm Science Review on Farm Management topics. Catch up on the ones you missed during the show.

Subscribe through iTunes at http://go.osu.edu/iTunesAFM or Stitcher at http://go.osu.edu/StitcherAFM to have the newest episodes added to your playlist. Stay up to date with us on Facebook @AFMPodcast and Twitter @AFM_Podcast.

 

Farm Management Series to be held in Fulton County in February

by Eric Richer, Extension Educator

Ohio State University Extension-Fulton County will again be offering its Farm Management Series on Tuesdays in February.  The series is for any farmer who raises commodity grain and livestock. This year’s program will focus on farm succession, financial and production planning. Additionally, the series will help farmers look at options for taking your farm a different direction to complement commodity production. This year the series is offered as a daytime program from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and includes lunch. Each session will feature guest speakers and content relevant to today’s farm management. The series, which runs February 6, 13, 20 and 27, is taught by a combination of Extension Educators and state specialists and private sector individuals.

On Tuesday, February 6, the series will emphasize transition and estate planning (farm succession).  Topics will include working together to develop your farm’s business plan, answering 9 key succession planning, legal structures, getting your financial affairs in order and family communication.

Tuesday, February 13th will focus on financial planning.  Time will be spent reviewing key farm financial statements and strategies including an Ag Lender/Professional panel at lunch.  The afternoon will address ways to reduce family living expense and financial stress as well as taking a hard look at the value of enterprise analysis on your farm.

February 20th will be spent looking at key production planning areas of farm management.  Speakers will address the outlook for inputs, best management practices for leasing or buying, and calculating your cost of production.  Additional sessions will focus on the CAUV property tax production formula and converting your farm to natural gas.

The final session of the series on February 27 will conclude with a day full of guest speakers who will offer options for “taking your farm a different direction” to complement commodity production.  The buffet of topics will include transitioning to organic, swine production, agri-tourism, barley production in Ohio, and non-GMO grain opportunities.

The total cost for the series is $60 or $20 per day session if pre-registered by February 1.  Registration after the deadline will still be accepted but the cost goes up to $70 for the series or $25 per session. Registration includes materials and lunch.  Support for this series is provided in part by Farm Credit Mid America, Farmers & Merchants State Bank, Metamora State Bank, Sherwood State Bank and Ag Credit.  The farm management series will be held at the Robert Fulton Ag Center, 8770 State Route 108, Wauseon, Ohio 43567.  The registration form can be downloaded at www.fulton.osu.edu or call 419-337-9210 or email richer.5@osu.edu for more information.

 

 

“Planning for the Future of Your Farm” Workshops to be Held Across Ohio

By David Marrison, Associate Professor – OSU Extension

OSU Extension will be hosting five “Planning for the Future of Your Farm” workshops across Ohio during the winter of 2018.  These planning workshops are designed to help farm families develop a succession and estate plan for their farm business. Attend and learn ways to successfully transfer management skills and the farm’s business assets from one generation to the next. Learn how to have the crucial conversations about the future of your farm.

This workshop will challenge farm families to actively plan for the future of the farm business.  The featured speakers for this event will include: Robert Moore, Attorney at Law, Wright & Moore Law Company, Peggy Hall, Agricultural & Resource Law Field Specialist for OSU Extension, David Marrison, Extension Educator for Ashtabula County, and Chris Bruynis, Extension Educator for Ross County. Farm families are encouraged to bring members from each generation to the workshop. Plan today for the future success of your family business!

The workshops will be offered at the following locations.

Knox County Join us in Central Ohio for this workshop split over two nights in January.  These sessions will be held on Thursday, January 11 & 18, 2018 from to 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. at the Brandon Baptist located at 13513 Sycamore Road in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

Pre-registration is required and is limited to 50 persons.  The registration fee is $35 per person or $50 per family. This fee includes a hot meal at 5:30 p.m. prior to each session.  The registration deadline is January 4, 2018.  Make Checks payable to OSU Extension. Mail checks and registration to: OSU Extension – Knox County, P.O. Box 1268 Mt. Vernon, Oh. 43050. More information can be obtained by calling the Knox County Extension office at 740-397-0401 or by visiting http://u.osu.edu/knoxcountyag

Clinton County– Join us in south central Ohio for this workshop on Friday, January 19, 2018 from 9:00 to 3:30 p.m.    This workshop will be held in the community room of the Clinton County Extension office located at 111 South Nelson Avenue in Wilmington, Ohio.

Pre-registration is required and is limited to 40 registrants. The cost is $20 per person or $45 for family. The registration fee includes lunch and one set of program materials per family. Registration deadline is January 12, 2018. Payment options are credit card, check or cash. Registration and payment by credit card may be completed in person at the Clinton County Extension Office. Make checks payable to OSU Extension- Farm Plan and mail with this registration form to: OSU Extension- Clinton County, 111 S. Nelson Ave., Suite 2, Wilmington, OH 45177.  More information can be obtained by calling the Clinton County Extension office at 937-382-0901.

Williams County– Travel to the far northwest corner of Ohio for this program on Monday, February 5, 2018 from 9:30 to 4:00 p.m.  This workshop will be held at the Williams County Extension office located at 1425 East High Street, Bryan, Ohio.

Pre-registration is required by January 26, 2018. The cost is $10 per person. This fee includes snacks, lunch and a program notebook.  Make checks payable to OSU Extension and return to the OSU Extension- Williams County, 1425 E. High St., Suite 112, Bryan, OH 43506.  More information can be obtained by calling the Williams County Extension office at 419-636-5608.

Coshocton County– Join us in historical Roscoe Village in Coshocton County on February 23, 2018 from 9:00 to 4:00 p.m. for this workshop. The program will be held in Montgomery Hall on the Central Ohio Technical College Coshocton Campus located at 200 North Whitewoman Street, Coshocton, Ohio.

The registration fee for this workshop is $20 which includes lunch and one binder of the program materials per family.  Additional binders can be requested for $15 each. The class is limited to 40 persons and the registration deadline is February 16, 2018. Payment options are credit card, check or cash. Registration and payment by credit card may be completed at: http://go.osu.edu/coshfarmfuture. Registrations by mail can be made by making a check payable to OSU Extension and mailing the registration form to: OSU Extension- Coshocton County, 724 South 7th Street, Room 110, Coshocton, OH 43812. More information can be obtained by contacting the Coshocton County Extension office at:  740-622-2265

Darke County– Join us in western Ohio in Darke County for our final workshop of the winter on February 27, 2018 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  This program will be held at Romers located at 118 East Main Street in Greenville, Ohio.

Pre-registration is required and is limited to the first 60 registrants.  The cost is $20 per person which includes program materials and lunch. The registration deadline is February 20, 2018.  Make checks payable to OSU Extension and return to OSU Extension, Darke County, 603 Wagner Avenue, Greenville, Ohio 45331. More information can be obtained by calling the Darke County Extension office at 937-548-5215.

More details:

Each of the program flyers can be obtained at: u.osu.edu/ohioagmanager/farm-management-workshops/

More information about farm succession can be obtained by contacting David Marrison at the Ashtabula County Extension office at 440-576-9008 or by email at marrison.2@osu.edu

 

 

Retreat Empowers Women to be Better Farm Managers

by: Amanda Douridas & Emily Adams, OSU Extension Educators

Female farmers, whether farming on their own or in a partnership, realize the importance of the business side of farming. Annie’s Project provides education and a support network to enhance business skills of women involved in all aspects of agriculture.

Annie spent her lifetime learning to be an involved farm business partner with her husband. Annie’s life experiences inspired her daughter, a university Extension agent, to create a program for women living and working in the complex, dynamic agriculture business environment. Annie’s Project fosters problem solving, record keeping, and decision-making skills in farm women.

Two weekend retreats are being offered in Ohio this winter. Women will receive training in five areas of agricultural risk management: financial, marketing, production, legal, and human resources. Most importantly women are able to network and develop relationships with other women in agriculture.

Past participants have had this to say about the program:

“I changed my mind about how to approach communication with my in-laws as business partners.”

“I have gained tools to help improve management of our farm and insight on how to communicate the resources to other members of the farm.”

“I appreciated getting to meet others with a shared interest.”

“I encourage any woman to attend one of these great programs!”

The firs retreat will be held Dec 1-3 at Salt Fork State Park Lodge and Conference Center, 14755 Cadiz Road, Lore City, OH 43755. The participant fee is $105 per person, which includes all materials and meals. Lodging is $99 per room per night with up to four people per room. Registration deadline is November 17. For questions about this program, please contact Emily Adams at adams.661@osu.edu or 740-622-2265.

The second retreat will be Feb 2-4 at Western Buckeye Christian Camp, 5455 Roeth Rd, Houston, OH 45333. The cost is $95 per person and includes all lodging, materials and meals. Please bring bedding and towels. The registration deadline is January 19. For questions about this retreat, please contact Amanda Douridas at Douridas.9@osu.edu or 937-484-1526.

Registration for both workshops can be found at: https://u.osu.edu/ohwomeninag/.

 

Have You Prepared for Your Farm Business for Life After You?

by David Marrison, Associate Professor & Extension Educator

During the past winter, one of the farm management workshops we conducted across Ohio was the “Passing on the Family Farm” series.  In fact, almost 400 individuals were able to attend these workshops and other special presentations to learn how to plan for the future of their farms.  These workshops were a great way for families to grow together by develop a farm succession game-plan and to begin to have crucial conversations.

Each farm family is different in regard to its goals for transition planning. Family dynamics, physical resources, financial position, and managerial styles vary from operation to operation.  As farmers plan to transfer the family business to the next generation, there are a myriad of decisions to be made. One of the most difficult is determining how to be fair to off-farm heirs without jeopardizing the future of the heirs who have remained with the family business. Other decisions include deciding who will manage the business in the future, how to distribute assets, how and when the senior generation will retire, and how the business will deal with the unexpected.

So has your family discussed the future of your farm business?  Seven years ago this May, our dairy farm was rolling along nicely and then my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  My dad fought a courageous battle against this disease for seven weeks before passing away. His diagnosis came right during planting season which is one of the busiest times on a farm.

Two of the major questions I pose in our farm succession workshops are “What knowledge would you need to pass on if you knew you had only 2 months to live?” and “How would your farm react to the loss of the principle operator?”   As you jump in the tractor this spring, I challenge you to think about the future of your farm.  Many of us do our best thinking in the tractor, so challenge yourself to think about what knowledge and skills need to be transferred to the next generation so they can be successful without you.

Opossum Approach – I have often said the senior generation should “play possum” during planting or harvest season.  What does this mean?  Just as an opossum plays dead, so too should the principle operator.   Take an unannounced week away from the farm during one of the busiest times of the year for your farm and allow the junior generation to take over with no communication from the senior generation.  I know this sounds crazy but how else will you know what knowledge and skills have been transferred and which ones still need to be?  It is a lot easier to come back after a short vacation and be able to answer the questions your son or daughter has.  You won’t have this opportunity when you pass away.

365 Day Challenge- Outside of using the opossum approach, it should be the goal of the senior generation to transfer at least one knowledge point or skill to the next generation each day.  In fact, have you asked the next generation what they need to be schooled up on? It is a great idea to ask the next generation what additional responsibilities they believe they should be taking on and what changes they would like to see made for them to be successful in the future.  Have you completed a skills assessment with each son or daughter to see what training they need to be successful in the future?

Our farm succession team is here to help you. In addition to our one day or two day workshops, we are also available to speak at other events and to conduct kitchen-table meetings with your farm family.  If you are interesting in learning more about how to successfully transition your farm to the next generation, please email me at marrison.2@osu.edu and I will be happy to dialogue with you! Our team also has a series of factsheets on farm transition planning and other planning documents available for your use.

 

Ohio Legislature Changes Transfer on Death Designations Following Certain Life Events

By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Asst. Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law

This is a re-post from the original article posted at: http://aglaw.osu.edu/

Many Ohioans choose to avoid the probate process by using a transfer on death designation. Since 2000, Ohio has permitted property owners to use transfer on death designations to transfer property upon the owner’s death. Since 2009, Ohio law has required property owners to make transfer on death designations by using an affidavit instead of a survivorship deed. Under a new Ohio law, transfer on death affidavits may automatically terminate after certain life events.

The new changes took effect on December 13, 2016 when the Governor signed Senate Bill 232 into law. Under Senate Bill 232, a transfer on death designation made either by a deed or by an affidavit to an owner’s spouse terminates if the property owner obtains a divorce, dissolution, or annulment.  The new law applies to new and pre-existing transfer on death designations.

Because the law applies to pre-existing transfer on death designations, it may be a good time for property owners to revisit their estate plans. Property owners should be aware of the effect of divorce, dissolution, or annulment on their transfer on death designations.

The Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s analysis of Senate Bill 232 is available at: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/download?key=5461&format=pdf

More information on transfer on death designations is available from the Ohio State Bar Association at: https://www.ohiobar.org/ForPublic/Resources/LawYouCanUse/Pages/LawYouCanUse-195.aspx

Planning for the Future of Your Farm Workshop to be held in Darke County on February 15 & 22, 2017

By Sam Custer, Darke County Extension Educator

Darke County – OSU Extension will be hosting a farm success and estate planning workshop titled “Planning for the Future of Your Farm” on Wednesday, February 15 & 22, 2017 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Romers located at 118 East Main Street in Greenville, Ohio.   If you are thinking of how and when to transfer your farm business to the next generation, then this workshop is one which you will not want to miss.

This intensive workshop is designed to help farm families develop a succession plan for their farm business.  Attend and learn ways to successfully transfer management skills and the farm’s business assets from one generation to the next.  Learn how to have the crucial conversations about the future of your farm.  This workshop will challenge farm families to actively plan for the future of the farm business.  Farm families are encouraged to bring members from each generation to the workshop. Plan today for the future success of your family business!

The featured speakers for this event will include: Robert Moore, Attorney at Law, Wright & Moore Law Company; Peggy Hall, Assistant Professor for the OSYU Agricultural & Resource Law Program; David Marrison, Extension Educator for Ashtabula County; and Sam Custer, OSU Extension Educator for Darke County.

Registrations are limited to the first 60 persons.  The fee for this workshop is $40 per person with a registration deadline of February 8, 2017.  The fee includes lunch and program materials.  This workshop is sponsored in part by Second National Bank and Greenville National Bank.  More information about this program can be obtained by calling Sam Custer at the Darke County Extension office at 937-548-5215 and a program flyer can be found at: http://darke.osu.edu/events/farm-transition-succession-workshop.