; Farm Succession Focus Groups Offer Insight to Program Development and Barriers to Address | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Farm Succession Focus Groups Offer Insight to Program Development and Barriers to Address

Heather Schlesser


Four focus group discussions were held with Wisconsin farmers in the fall of 2017. The goals of the discussions groups were to define farm succession; identify barriers to planning; identify educational needs and farmers’ preferences for farm succession planning programming. Twenty-eight farmers participated. The discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed and analyzed with qualitative data analysis software. This session will present the results of the focus groups and offer program directions based on the results. The data indicates similar themes to work done in Pennsylvania by M.J. Pitts, et al, entitled Dialectical Tensions Underpinning Family Farm Succession Planning, published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research in 2009. These themes include tensions around control, change, financial needs, fair vs. equal, and communication when addressing farm succession. In addition to these tensions, the Wisconsin focus group participants identified learner needs that will shape future programming around not only farm succession education, but also other risk management topics that are emotionally charged and include life changes. This presentation will provide suggestions in program development based on the learner needs and ideas on addressing the tensions around farm succession conversations and planning. We will also share results we found regarding the various tensions and how these tensions influence a person’s willingness to participate in Farm Succession planning. We will also share a Farm Succession manual that we developed to help county based extension educators with Farm Succession Programs.

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