It’s an uncomfortable conversation that doesn’t take place in the farming community nearly enough.  Succession planning.


Joel Packham with the University of Idaho said farmers don’t like to talk about what may happen to the operation after they pass.  But he noted a lack of open and honest conversations now puts the family farm at risk of drying up and disappearing.


“And with the prices that we have in land nowadays, the problem is just been exacerbated by the high cost of land, and the high cost of farming, the high cost of everything that we do.  If you don't set it up very carefully, it's not going to go forward as an operation, and it'll just be sold and you know some other family will take it over and or corporation will take it over and that will be the end of the farm that you know and the and the farm that you love.”


Packham added while it may seem like the “fair” thing to do, splitting up land into multiple sections for each child most likely will result in the end of production, which like mean and end of the farm.  He added it’s important to remember that disagreement and different options won’t fix themselves, so its important the current generation takes the lead.


“If you die and you don't have this set up, they won't set it up.  There will be a big fight, and families often don't stay together when you get into these kinds of fights.  Work it out when you're alive and then you can you can go having a good feeling about where your operation is going to be in the future.”


Visit the University of Idaho's Website for ideas how to start the succession planning conversation, resources and much more.



If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-9791, or e-mail 

More From PNW Ag Network