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UW Extension to hold workshops on farm succession
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BELMONT - The University of Wisconsin Extension offices in Grant, Lafayette, Crawford and Richland counties will host workshops in Belmont and Gays Mills to provide information and ideas on farm succession and estate planning.

The Dec. 15 workshop will be at the Belmont Inn and Convention Center. The Dec. 16 workshop will be at the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center. The two programs will offer the same agenda and will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. UW Extension is partnering with Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, the WDATCP's Farm Center and UW Center for Dairy Profitability to offer these programs.

A generation ago, passing on the family farm was a simple process. Profit margins were higher, land values were lower, farm size was smaller and tax rates did not seem as significant. A farmer could draft a simple will to transfer ownership to his children.

To effectively transfer a business from the current owner to the next generation now takes considerable time, planning and working with a team of professionals. The succeeding generation needs to establish a firm financial footing and learn to manage the business. The retiring generation has to be willing to turn over management but also know they will be secure for their later years. Developing a working plan will make the transition smoother and will make communicating the transfer details with on-farm and off-farm family members easier. Even if a transfer is several years away, starting early will help the process go more smoothly.

This estate planning workshop will explore the issues and considerations for farm succession in today's high stakes climate. Topics to be covered include: financial considerations for each generation; opening the lines of communication - why it is so difficult and how to get the conversation started; and methods of asset transfer and tax considerations. A farmer panel will share how others started planning and what resources were used.

Registration is at 9:30 a.m. with the program ending at 3:15 p.m. Registration is $20 per person and includes lunch, refreshments, speakers and workshop materials. Pre-registration is required.

To register for the Belmont location, contact the Grant County UW Extension office by Tuesday at 608-723-2125 or For the Gays Mills location, contact the Crawford County UW Extension office by Dec. 9 at 608-326-0223 or

These workshops are partially funded by a grant from the North Central Region Risk Management Education Center and by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2012-49200-20032.