A hush fell over the overflow crowd of young farmers as Ron Hanson wrapped up his presentation on farm succession planning.

Not sure what to expect next, this standing-room-only group of young farmers at Iowa Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Conference in Des Moines was left astounded by examples of horror story farm succession planning mistakes and mishaps that can devastate a family and bring future family gatherings to an abrupt halt.

Or worse yet, force moms and dads, brothers and sisters into the courtroom.

Hanson, with 46 years of ag education experience as a professor at the University of Nebraska Lincoln and now retired, has spent his career educating students and the ag community at seminars across the country on the importance of farm transition planning.  

He’s often met with a quiet nervousness from attendees as they hang on every word during a presentation, possibly envisioning themselves or their families in a similar difficult situation due to failing to properly plan for farm transition.

Hanson’s closing remarks came as a stark ...