Succession planning is one of the most critical needs facing farm and ranch families as they attempt to transfer their business to a successive generation; either family or non-family. Data reveals that about 77% of all farm assets are currently owned by those age 70 years or older. Further, in ND an estimated 50% of all agricultural lands are now operated under some type of lease agreement between an owner and operator. Based upon recent surveys, it is also estimated that less than 50% of ND farms and ranches have a current succession plan in place.
NDSU Extension has developed and piloted an educational program titled “Design Your Succession Plan” that helps farm and ranch families get started on developing a succession plan for their business. The curriculum consists of five modules titled “Starting Your Succession Plan”, “Determining What You Want”, “The Next Generation and Your Legacy”, “Family Meetings and Conversations”, and “Choosing and Working With Professionals”. The Curriculum is very interactive
The materials consist of a presenter’s binder, participant’s binder and a participant’s workbook. During the fall/winter of 2015/2016, the course was offered at 20 locations throughout ND. Total attendance was just under 200 participants.
Initial evaluation, compiled using qualtrics, reveal a 51% increase in understanding the value mentoring a successor and a 70% increase in identifying professionals to work with in developing a plan. 80% of the participants indicated they are very likely to work on their plan during the next six months.