; Colorado Agriculture: A State in Transition | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Colorado Agriculture: A State in Transition

Jeffrey E. Tranel, John P. Hewlett, and Todd Hagenbuch


Colorado’s farmers and ranchers are a rapidly aging population. Without well thought-out and formal estate and succession plans, Colorado’s farms and ranches will dwindle in number.

Colorado State University, in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, conducted an online survey to obtain information about the: (1) status of succession plans and financial information by members of the retiring generation, (2) level of understanding of key points in transition planning by heirs and possible successors, and (3) key issues faced by farm and ranch families from the perspective of Extension and other outside professionals (bankers, accountants, NRCS and FSA professionals, etc.).

Results indicated that approximately half of the survey respondents reported having no plan for transitioning management skills to their successors. Further, one-third of married and 44 percent of unmarried members of the retiring generation have in place no formal plan for transitioning ownership of the land and other farm and ranch assets.

Access to educational resources, family meeting facilitators, and assistance in developing succession plans can offer the support families often require. However, more information is needed. In total, 80 survey respondents reported willingness to be interviewed about their experiences and needs. The results of this and future surveys, as well as one-on-one interviews will help educators and policymakers develop and deliver needed resources and policies for farm and ranch families as they transfer both management and assets to future generations.