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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


OSU Extension Workshops to Aid in Transition Planning

January 10, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Transitioning the family business for the future may be a financially complex and emotionally charged process, but Ohio State University Extension is offering a series of workshops this winter to aid in everything from easing into retirement to planning for the next generation.

"Building for the Successful Transition of Your Agricultural Business" workshops will be held at two Ohio locations in March. The workshops are made possible through a North Central Risk Management Education Center grant.

"Planning is one of the most critical functions of management. Planning decisions can range from the short-term to long-range planning for retirement, transition and estate planning," said David Marrison, OSU Extension educator for Ashtabula County. "One area in which many farmers feel uncomfortable planning for is the future of the farm without them. These workshops will help farm families come together to develop a plan for the farm's future, discover ways to increase family communication, plan for retirement, and learn strategies for transferring management skills and the farm's assets from one generation to the next."

Each workshop will be divided into two sessions. The first session will help members of the family business analyze the current status of the business, determine where the business is going, and plan for the future.

"Participants will learn how responsibilities can be shared between generations and how the new generation of managers can be developed. Participants will examine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to their business and will develop a shared vision for the future," said Marrison. "This workshop session will challenge family members to honestly communicate with one another when planning for the future."

The second session will feature the nuts and bolts of transferring a family business from one generation to the next.

"This workshop will allow participants to learn more about business organization structures and strategies, how to treat on-farm and off-farm heirs, how to equitably transfer assets, how to plan for adequate retirement income, and how buy-sell agreements, trusts, and life insurance can be utilized in succession planning," said Marrison.

The workshops will be held at the following locations:

• March 4 and 11: OSU Extension Clark County office, 4400 Gateway Blvd., Suite 104, Springfield; 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; contact Jonah Johnson, (937) 328-4607.

• March 7 and 14: Shisler Conference Center, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster; 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; contact Terry Kline, (330) 264-8722.

The registration fee for attending the two-day workshop is $75 for the first family member and $50 for each additional family member attending. Registration includes workshop notebook, refreshments and lunch for both sessions. For more information, log on to

In addition to the workshops, OSU Extension has also developed a series of transition planning fact sheets. Topics include: building for the successful transition of the family business, whole farm planning model, developing a useful mission statement, developing goals, and conducting successful family transition meetings. The fact sheets can be found on the Ohio Ag Manager Web site at, or contact David Marrison at (440) 576-9008, or

Candace Pollock
David Marrison