The average age of farmers is approaching 60 years, and those who are at least 60 years old are exiting farming at a rate of 10-12% per year. Because these farmers have been operating family farms non-stop for at least 40 years, accepting life without a daily routine is difficult. Many of these individuals have “retired,” only to find themselves desiring a busy lifestyle without the physical exertion of farming. Those with a farm background understand the concepts of risk and coping with uncertainty, and they have a work ethic; but, going from full-time farming to seemingly doing nothing leads to additional personal stressors. They view their decades of experience should be an asset, not a liability, to doing something now. Hence, the step-by-step development of an encore entrepreneurship extension education program for farm families. Initial activities include analyzing their own personality types, conducting personal assessments of being a risk taker in today’s environment, asking themselves if entrepreneurship is for them, preparing a personal reflective statement as to why they want to be an entrepreneur, and completing a management audit so that they can better work on their business, as opposed to working in it. Assistance is provided in writing a business plan, getting appropriate assistance, establishing the location, business structure, and financing, registering the business (permits, licenses, and tax ids), and hiring employees. Five two-day sessions, with a max of six farm families per session, have been held, with positive comments and results.
|Conference||2013 National Farm Management Conference|