IFBF ‘Take Root’ workshops begin statewide this month

Nearly 30 percent of Iowa farmers plan to retire within the next 5-10 years, yet nearly a third of farm families have no plan in place to assure the transition will be successful. The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is working to change that by bringing back their successful ‘Take Root’ farm transition workshops to several locations across the state.

Free to IFBF members, the ‘Take Root’ workshops break down the top three roadblocks to assuring a smooth farm transition; opening the line of communication, accessing professional estate planning tools and mapping out an agreement that assures equality and financial viability for the future.

“The biggest hurdle is just getting started and knowing where to start. For many families there are also concerns about tackling the problem of ‘fair’ versus ‘equal.’ Communication is vital and we know that when it comes to farming in particular, some generations just like to hold their cards very close, so it’s often just a matter of having access to the guidance of professionals to get the ball rolling,” says Amanda Van Steenwyk, farm business development manager for 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 3,000 members have participated in Take Root workshops held throughout the state. The workshops unite families and also pave the way for young Iowans to remain hopeful for farming’s future. “A survey done by the Coalition to Support Iowa Farmers (CSIF) at the 2016 Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference, shows 86 percent of youth intend to pursue a career in agriculture, yet nearly half of them (48%) say the biggest roadblock is start-up costs. Often, a good farm succession plan can smooth the path,” says Van Steenwyk.

The 2016 Take Root workshops, free for IFBF members and $55 for non-member families, are a two-workshop series. The first workshops will be held June 23 and July 7 in Peosta, Iowa.

Other Take Root farm succession locations and dates are as follows:

  • O’Brien County (Sheldon, Iowa) – June 28 & July 12
  • Dallas County (Perry, Iowa) – July 19 & August 2

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. For complete details on how to register for the Take Root workshops, go to www.iowafarmbureau.com/takeroot.