Search for Excellence in Farm and Ranch Business Management

Jake Hadfield
Extension Assistant Professor
Utah State University
Cache County

Dallin, J.*1, , Hadfield, J.*2, , Garcia, M.3, , Larsen, R.4,
1 Extension Faculty - Box Elder County, Utah State University, Box Elder, UT, 84322
2 Extension Assistant Professor, Utah State University, Logan, UT, 84321
3 Extension Beef Specialist, Utah State University, Logan, UT, 84322
4 Extension Agriculture Economics Specialist, Utah State University, Logan, UT, 84322

In 2016, it was reported that nationwide 80% of all owner-operated land was owned by individuals who were 55 years or older (Bigelow et al., 2016). This staggering statistic, coupled with the reported average age of producers in Utah being 58.7 years old, explains the significant response from farm and ranch producers in Utah who have listed succession planning as one of the most important programmatic needs from Utah State University Extension (USDA NASS,  2017: Narine, 2019).

The succession or transition of farms and ranches presents many unique challenges. Often producers do not know where to begin. To assist with this gap, USU Extension has developed and modified tools and training that allow producers to create their own unique succession plans pertaining to business, retirement, transition, and estate planning at a pace that is comfortable to them. The workbook tool, when completed, also offers significant financial savings to the farm or ranch producer.

In response to the expressed need for a Farm and Ranch Succession Program, USU Extension comprised a team that consists of a Beef Extension Specialist, Farm Management Specialist, and two County level Extension faculty. This approach provides synergies based on skillsets and relationships with participants.

In order to best serve producers, the USU Extension team traveled to North Dakota State University to receive training and special certifications. From here, resources were developed and modified to best meet the needs of producers from Utah.

The USU Extension Farm and Ranch Succession programs began in December of 2019. Tools were provided through PowerPoint modules and a workbook adopted from North Dakota State University (NDSU, 2021).