Abstract of presentation by ISU Extension, Beginning Farmer Center 01/31/07
Co-Presenters John R. Baker, Administrator BFC and David W. Baker, Farm Transition Specialist BFC
Promoting Transitions of Farm Operations
The United States continues to see a precipitous drop in the number of people actively engaged in farm management. It is important that society step back and evaluate where we are as a nation in terms of demographic structure. If the goodness and values developed throughout rural America are not to be lost we must act now. All citizens have a stake in the success of farm transitioning and the effect it has on strengthening our economy.
In addition to recruiting young people for careers in farming a key strategy must be developed for encouraging the first generation to transition their farm assets in a way that keeps these operations ongoing and prosperous.
Proven systems have been developed over time in an effort to attract the younger generation back to rural communities and the smooth transition of these entrepreneurs into farming ventures. These programs need support from our leaders, elected officials, and educators. This support is gained by the eagerness and earnestness of our call to action. Legislation has passed in several states directed at enticing the retiring generation to rent or lease farming assets to beginning farmers. There are several successful systems that have been developed through many years of research and practice. One of these systems is called the “Critical Path” method. It directs the multi-generation families involved to verbalize their individual values, visions, missions, and goals. This information is then shared with all involved parties to formulate the objectives, strategies and tactics to reach those goals.