North Dakota farm/ranch transition planning classes set

Farm Forum

Farm and ranch succession planning is emerging as a critical need for North Dakota producers. The average age of a farmer/rancher is 57, so many are looking toward retirement and transitioning their business.

To help, the North Dakota State University Extension Service is offering “Design Your Succession Plan” workshops at a number of sites across the state. This program is designed to assist farm and ranch families get started on their succession plan and will help them shape the future ownership of their business.

During the workshops, participants will:

• Get started on a succession plan using a workbook

• Open lines of communication in the family to create a shared vision for the family business extending into the next generation

• Work with professionals to construct a plan and documents that put the family’s vision into action

The program was offered for the first time in Carrington last year.

“The response from the participants was very positive,” says Joel Lemer, an NDSU Extension agent in Foster County. “We received many compliments on the program materials, including the workbook that each participant receives to help him or her in gathering the information needed for the succession plan.”

Extended families are encouraged to attend the program together to discover what is involved in creating a succession plan that will work for their family farm or ranch. A successful transition takes many family conversations and a considerable amount of time.

“One of the topics covered in the program is how to start a family conversation about succession planning,” says Donna Anderson, an NDSU Extension agent in Foster County. “We use case studies and activities to generate discussion around the issues families deal with in succession planning.”

The locations, dates, start times and contacts for the workshops are:

• Grand Forks – Jan. 20, 27 and Feb. 3 at 5 p.m., Willie Huot, (701) 780 8229,

• Minot – Jan. 20 and 22 at 6 p.m., Paige Brummund, (701) 857-6444,

• Beach – Jan. 28 at 9 a.m., Ashley Ueckert, (701) 872-4332,

• Ashley – Feb. 2 at 9 a.m., Crystal Schaunaman, (701) 288-3465,

• Enderlin – Feb. 5 and 12 at 6 p.m., Brian Zimprich, (701) 683-6128,

• Oakes: March 11 and 18 at 5 p.m., Breana Kiser, (701) 349-3249,

• Lakota – March 17, 24 and 31 at 6 p.m., Katelyn Hain, (701) 247-2521,

• Forman – March 23 and 30 at 5:30 p.m. Melissa Blawat, (701)724-3355

The registration fee is $125 if your envelope is postmarked a week or more before the program and $150 if registering within a week of the program. The fee for a spouse is $25. To register, contact the Extension agent listed for the location where you want to attend. More information and a registration form is available at