Articles > 2022 Impacts

Planning to Ensure a Viable Business

Many Wisconsin farmers are approaching retirement age and are considering a succession plan — identifying the individual(s) who will take over the farm’s operations — to protect their farm and their legacy. UW–Madison Extension provides agriculture service providers with the resources they need to address farmers’ challenges around succession planning. These resources are designed to support farmers during the succession planning process and build trusting relationships with the farmers.

Extension partners with the Wisconsin Farm Center to organize the annual Wisconsin Farm Succession Professionals Network, which provides professional development and networking opportunities to Wisconsin’s agriculture service providers. Nearly 1,100 participants have attended the event in its nine-year history.

Additionally, Extension partnered with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to
develop the Certified Farm Succession Coordinator (CFSC) training. Topics included
managing gender and generational differences, the process of farm succession facilitation, and fair and equal distribution of assets. To date, 475 participants have completed the training.

The training “enhanced [my] abilities to
remain objective during the process and engage as a facilitator.”

Survey respondent who completed the Certified Farm Succession Coordinator training

Outcomes and Benefits

Extension surveyed 32 participants who completed the CFSC training — and who represent nearly 240 farms collectively. Survey participants reported learning skills to facilitate and objectively navigate families’ values and generational differences. In fact, 83% of participants found the training to be very valuable to their farm succession planning work.

The training “enhanced [my] abilities to remain objective during the process and engage as a facilitator and not an advisor on technical, financial, and legal issues,” one survey respondent said.

Additionally, the Cultivating Your Farm’s Future workbook is even more accessible to farmers and agriculture service providers, which is available online. In just five months, the workbook was downloaded 185 times.

Learn more at

Photo by Bryce Richter /UW–Madison

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