Top takeaways from Young Farmer Conference: Initiate discussions and update your will to facilitate smooth farm transition.

Communication is critical when it comes to successful farm transitions as Iowa young farmers work with their parents, grandparents and siblings on an efficient succession plan that will keep the business of farming viable as farm ownership turns over the next two decades.

The average age of U.S. farmers is 58 years old, and approximately 70% of Iowa’s farmland is expected to change hands in the next 20 years. As farmland becomes more valuable and assets on the farm grow, there’s a window of opportunity to have those important discussions now.

“How are we going to pass the farm on in a way that’s efficient and in a way that makes everyone happy in the family?” asked Erin Herbold-Swalwell, senior counsel with Iowa Farm Bureau and Farm Bureau Financial Services. “We want to find an effective way to transition the family farm to your generation and generations after you, to keep it in the family and keep the family happy.”

Herbold-Swalwell was among a panel of experts who addressed standing-room-only crowds at the 2024 Young Farmer Conference Feb. 2-3 in Des Moines, hosted by the Iowa Farm ...