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Pennsylvania Farm Link: Helping to Provide Future Generations of Farmers with Opportunities to Farm

Posted: September 1, 2015

Leading Pennsylvania’s economy with $5.7 billion dollar in sales each year, Pennsylvania’s future depends on agriculture. 7.7 million acres are devoted to agriculture use and of those 4.2 million acres (54%) are owned by farmers age 55 and over, according to 2007 NASS agriculture statistics. If agriculture is to remain Pennsylvania’s largest industry it’s imperative for these acres to transition to the next generation of farmers.

Pennsylvania Farm Link, a 501c3 non-profit, has been devoted to creating farming opportunities for the next generation since 1994. PA Farm Link works with supporting agricultural organization partners to conduct a series of workshops each year for Pennsylvania farm owners and family members who desire to create farm succession/transition plans.

Workshop topics include:

  • Succession/transition from a legal perspective;
  • Estate planning and necessary documents;
  • Farm family communication dynamics and challenges;
  • Family Meeting guidelines;
  • Generational challenge strategies.

Last year, 250 people attended such workshops held throughout the state of Pennsylvania. International Farm Transition Network (IFTN) certified trainers led peer group breakouts reviewing the wants, needs, fears and expectations of members of families that own and operate farms. Empowered by the realization they were not alone in their concerns, workshop participants shared their succession planning challenges and worked together to find feasible solutions. This breakout method was adopted with permission from John Baker, Iowa’s Beginning Farming Center and IFTN President. The farmer unit challenges and solution exercise was developed by Darlene Livingston, Executive Director of PA Farm Link and 4th generation family farmer. The program was based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2012-49200-20031.

Farm owners and families that would like more information on forming a farm succession/ transition plan to continue their farm business into the future, are encouraged to attend one of these workshops.

Upcoming farm succession and transition workshops:

15-Oct-2015 Wysox Fire Hall, Bradford County. Wysox Volunteer Fire Company, 111 Lake Road, Wysox, PA.

06-Nov-2015 York County 4-H Center 771 Stoverstown Road, York, PA 9:15 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Workshop.

19-March-2016 Lycoming County, PA. Additional information is forthcoming.

PA Farm Link also:

  • Maintains an Online Database of beginning farmers seeking a situation as well as landowners looking for someone to purchase or lease their farm so it may continue in production agriculture.
  • Provides a Resource Central/ online resource library service: Resource Central provides links to business planning, transition planning, legal, leasing, financial, professional organizations as well as technical items.

For more information on PA Farm Link’s workshops and other services, check online or contact Darlene Livingston, Executive Director at 717-705-2121 or email c-daliving@pa.gov.