; ´Shifting Gears´ workshops Help Farmers Plan for Their Later Years | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name ´Shifting Gears´ workshops Help Farmers Plan for Their Later Years

Joy Kirkpatrick


Reinvesting all profits into the farm hobbles the older generation’s ability to plan for retirement. It reduces Social Security benefits and loads retirement portfolios with illiquid assets. This narrows retirement options and forces many to continue to farm far into their retirement years to protect assets for the next generation.

In 2012 UW-Extension educators developed a two-day workshop entitled ‘Shifting Gears for Your Later Farming Years’ to help producers explore their ideas for shifting gears in later years and learn about retirement and farm succession. The workshop included: estimating their nest egg; evaluating which assets would be used for retirement; what to do if you’re not farming 24/7; tax consequences; social security benefits, and estate planning. Participants were offered financial or succession coaching after the workshops ended.

The workshop series was piloted in three locations. In 2012 training was provided to 17 county educators and as a result six additional workshops were offered with 99 participants. Pre-workshop surveys indicate that while a majority of the participants considered the financial issues of retirement, less than half had considered their lifestyle plans as they transition into retirement. Their three top concerns were: financial security in their later years, how to transfer assets to the next generation and how to scale back on the work yet stay involved with the farm. End of session evaluations indicated participants’ knowledge levels increased on all topics presented in the workshops. Since 2012 materials are updated and the program continues to be offered to Wisconsin farmers.