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A bulls standing underneath a tree on a hill.

Farm transitions – where agricultural land, in part or in whole, changes hands – can seem like a daunting task. Maybe the ownership of the land will change. Maybe that ownership will move from one generation to the next in the same family. Maybe ownership will move from one family to a different one. Changes like these are more likely to be successful if groundwork is carefully laid through planning and analysis, plus clear communications with others impacted by the decisions.


The resources collected on this OSU Extension site are designed to provide access to publications, PowerPoints, calculators and other web pages those involved with a farm transition may find helpful.


Farm Transition Assistance Tools

Download a complete copy of the The Farm Transition Workbook (122-page PDF).


Background Information

Transitions in Agriculture: Implications for Research, Data Development and Policy Analysis


  Title Author/Presenter
  Setting/Landscape Moderator, Mary Ahearn
  Transition of U.S. Agriculture to Best Meet the Challenges Ahead Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  Future U.S. Agricultural Production at Stake: The Challenges of Agricultural Producer Transition Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University
  Social Forces and Cultural Factors Impacting Farm Transitions Shoshanah Inwood, University of Vermont
  National Policies
Moderator, Ron Durst
  Legal Issues Affecting Farm Transition Shannon Ferrell, Oklahoma State University
  Federal Policies Impacting Beginning Farmers: FSA, NRCS, Small Farm Programs, Other Charles Dodson, Farm Service Agency, USDA
  Transitions in Agriculture: Perspectives on the Farm Credit System Steve Koenig, Farm Credit
  Ag Credit Survey Nathan Kauffman, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City - Omaha Branch
  Facilitated Group Discussion Mary Ahearn, Economic Research Service, USDA
  Lessons Learned Moderator, Damona Doye
  Lessons Learned from Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Projects funded by NIFA Randy Westgren, University of Missouri
  Lessons Learned from Farm Transition Projects funded through Risk Management Education Dave Goeller,University of Nebraska, Regional Risk Management Education Center rep
  Insights from experienced consultants Dave Goeller, University of Nebraska
  Retired Farmer - An Elusive Concept Joy Kirkpatrick, University of Wisconsin
  Future Directions Moderator, Mitch Morehart
  Policies to Improve Farm Transition and Opportunities for Beginners Brandon Willis, Risk Management Agency, USDA
  Facilitated Group Discussion of Major Issues and Wrap-Up Mike Boehjle, Purdue University


Frequently Asked Questions


How do I treat on-farm and non-farm children fairly?

First, recognize that fair treatment does not necessarily mean equal treatment. If farm business sustainability is a goal, on-farm heirs may have helped create that estate, perhaps earning below-market wage rates, despite working long hours in a high risk profession with the expectations of making up some of those earnings through receipt of assets later. Non-farm heirs may have left the farm to pursue family and education goals and may have already received part of their inheritance in the form of educational assistance and/or financial support. Farm heirs often share the goal of wanting the farm to stay in the family and may be responsible for caring for parents in their later years. Circumstances and goals change so parents should not presume that they know the feelings of either on-farm or non-farm children. Communications are key. See the Preparing to Transition, Treatment of Heirs section of this website for more information.


How much income will I need in retirement?

That's the $64,000 question, isn't it? How much income have you needed annually in recent years? Kansas Farm Business Management Association data documents what farm families are currently spending by age of oldest child. The old-rule-of-thumb was that you might need 80% of what you spent before retirement, but rising health care costs and other related expenses have called that notion into question. Financial calculators built into software programs such as Quicken help you gain some insights by pointing out the impact of life expectancy and inflation on the funds needed. Do you plan to live differently in retirement, for example, travel more? Will asset transfers as part of your estate plan reduce your ability to generate income from farm assets? To answer the question about how much income you need, you will need to anticipate both your lifestyle and expenses. See the Preparing to Transition section of this website for additional references.


What happens if I don't have a will?

Without a will in Oklahoma, the transfer of your assets upon your death will be directed using the Oklahoma statutes of intestate succession. These statutes do not allow any room for flexibility to meet changing family circumstances or special needs. If you want to direct what property will transfer to your spouse, children and other potential heirs, you will need a will. Review the publication titled Trusts: Uses and Considerations for more information.


How can I minimize my estate taxes?

The desire to minimize estate taxes is often expressed when evaluating methods of transferring the estate. However, estate taxes are only a part of the overall estate settlement cost. Lawyers and accountant fees, probate and estate taxes make up the majority of estate settlement costs. Proper estate planning using a well written will or trust will help to minimize the total costs of settling your estate. See the publication titled Estate Planning: A Simplified Guide for Oklahoma Farm and Ranch Families for additional information.


Program Contributors

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