NDSU offers farm/ranch succession planning education

Farm Forum

Have you thought about what your family farm or ranch business will look like when you retire or after you are gone? More than 80 percent of farm and ranch families hope to pass the family farm or ranch on to the next generation, but research shows only 30 percent of family farms and ranches survive to the second generation, and only 12 percent survive to the third generation. A successful transition takes planning. To help North Dakota farm and ranch families start their succession planning process, the North Dakota State University Extension Service has developed an interactive program, Design Your Succession Plan.

This program will provide tools and resources for North Dakota producers who want to begin the succession planning process. Participants will have an opportunity to open the lines of communication with family to create a shared vision, and learn to choose and work with professionals such as attorneys, accountants, lenders, insurance agents and tax experts to construct a plan and documents that put the family’s vision into action.

The plan is to expand the number of sites offering the program in early spring.

“The program will prepare you to envision, communicate, plan, write and shape the legacy of your family farm or ranch business, as well as save hundreds of dollars by completing these crucial planning steps before visiting with professionals,” said Lori Scharmer, NDSU Extension family economic specialist.

Sites offering the Design Your Succession Plan program this winter are:• Enderlin, Dec. 8 and 15 – Contact: Brian Zimprich, NDSU Extension agent, Ransom County, (701) 683-6128, NDSU.Ransom.Extension

• Minot, Jan. 20 and 22, 2015 – Contact: Paige Brummund, NDSU Extension agent, Ward County, (701) 857-6444, paige.f.brummund@

• Grand Forks, Jan. 20 and 27 and Feb. 3, 2015 – Contact: Willie Huot, NDSU Extension agent, Grand Forks County, (701) 780-8229,

The registration fee is $150 if registering within a week of the program. The fee for a spouse who also plans to attend is $25. To register, contact the Extension agent noted for the location where you want to attend.

Contact your county NDSU Extension Service office for information on a workshop near you or visit for more information.