Pilot Farm Transition workshop set for Aug. 13 in IOW

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ISLE OF WIGHT—The first of several free Farm Transition workshops will take place 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Isle of Wight Ruritan Club, 17011 Courthouse Highway, Smithfield.

“We are concerned about the loss of working farmland in Virginia,” said Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Matthew J. Lohr. “We want to help our existing farmers set up a plan for a seamless transition from one generation to the next, and to keep our youth and young farmers engaged in farming.”

A fifth-generation farmer, Lohr, at 39, is thinking about assuming full responsibility of his family farm someday, as well as passing it on to his children. He also sees a trend with new college graduates with degrees in crop science, agronomy, animal science or other agricultural fields who would love to farm, but who don’t have land available to them. “Sometimes the best transition is outside the family, so we also encourage what we call farm seekers to attend one of these workshops,” Lohr said.

The agenda includes case studies that address farm transition issues and concerns, a facilitated session to help farm owners and farm seekers raise transition issues, an overview of legal and tax issues that will demonstrate effective ways to save money in the transition process and a session on loan information and financial options.

After a free lunch, afternoon sessions include a session on the basics of developing effective lease agreements or contracts to protect the farm and assembling a team of transition professionals, and a panel offering real-world farm transition experiences from local farmers. The afternoon also will include one-on-one opportunities for farm owners and farm seekers to meet, as well as a final session on starting to put together an action plan for farm transition strategies.

Information and registration details are available at www.vdacs.virginia.gov/preservation/workshop.shtml.