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Plan for succession to keep farm in family

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A farm is not just a piece of dirt, it is a living, breathing entity. I once wrote a column titled: “Does a farm have a soul?” for the High Plains Journal. The piece received a lot of reaction, most of it emotional. That is the challenge we will discuss today as a farm needs to be passed on to the next generation. Like it or not, farm owners are mostly over 65-years-old. Many are considerably older. One of the best ways to start a family fight is to suggest that a succession plan be put into place. It’s painful, but it’s necessary if the heart of that farm is to continue beating.

The main key to passing the family farm from one generation to the next is being proactive, according to Oklahoma State University professor Dr. Shannon Ferrell.

Ferrell is an attorney, associate professor and agricultural law specialist at Oklahoma State University. This week Ferrell has  been the keynote speaker at a series of downstate Illinois meetings hosted by Farm Credit Illinois. Dr. Ferrell says the meetings are aimed at starting the conversation amongst farm families about the future of their operations.