Transitioning the family farm from one generation to the next is a common goal for Iowa farm families, but is often an emotional and complex process for all involved.  Thanks to Iowa Farm Bureau’s Take Root Program, farm families can get the necessary help and resources needed to start the process and put the plan in place.             

“Take Root is more than just estate and transition planning,” said Amanda Van Steenwyk, farm business development manager at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF).  “Take Root provides strategies and resources that will improve family communication, assist in navigating through the emotional obstacles, and identify the business and estate planning tools that correspond with transferring the family business to the next generation.”

Since the program’s inception in 2013, more than 2,500 members have participated in Take Root workshops held throughout the state as they began to navigate the farm succession planning process. 

The next round of Take Root workshops, beginning in January 2016, will have a different format, with changes allowing farm families to go more in-depth with their planning.  The enhanced Take Root program will now feature a series of two three-hour workshops, where attendees will receive information and resources useful in developing a managed, comprehensive approach to family farm succession.

During the initial workshop, families will learn how to start the conversation about farm transition planning.  “We know it’s an emotional process,” Van Steenwyk said.  “The farm wasn’t created in a day, so we know there are emotional ties that we will work through as well.”

During the second workshop, families will interact with a panel of farm business experts who will provide insight on estate, tax and financial planning, leases and tenant qualities, and beginning farmer opportunities. 

“The workshops are designed to answer any questions families have regarding farm business transitions and helping to provide a framework on how to carry on the family’s farming legacy,” Van Steenwyk said. 

“Another great addition to the Take Root program is the incorporation of the Ag Transitions software program,” Van Steenwyk said.  “Through the Take Root program, participants can create an Ag Transitions account which helps break a comprehensive succession plan into categorized blocks, allowing for easier presentation and understanding.”

On January 19 and February 2, Take Root workshops will be held in Mount Pleasant.  Decorah will host Take Root workshops on February 11 and 25.  Workshops will be held in Algona on February 17 and March 9.  Participation in the Take Root workshops are a member benefit for Iowa Farm Bureau members.  Non-members are welcome to attend for $55 per family. 

For a complete agenda and details on how to register for the two Take Root workshops, go to