Upcoming Winter School Session to Focus on Farm Succession Planning

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pumpkin field

In the last 10 to 20 years, many acres of farmland in North Carolina have been converted to houses, industries, businesses and many other purposes other than farming. In Yancey County, the average age of the farmer increases with every Census of Agriculture and the statistics show fewer farmers entering the agriculture industry. In the last few years, especially since the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic, an increase in population has been evident in Yancey County. A vibrant, growing community is not necessarily a bad thing but it is important to consider that once farmland is developed, it cannot be replaced. That’s why I believe it is so very important to consider how to best preserve our farmland for future generations.

It is important for farmers to think about the future of their farms beyond retirement. One of the goals for most farmers operating small family farms is to be able to pass them on to the next generation. Planning for for farm succession can be very difficult since there is so much to consider!

Most first consider how debt will be handled once a farmer retires or when the farm passes to the next operator. There are also taxes and other legal matters that need to be considered. There are so many details to consider whether one plans to sell the farm, or  if the plan is to pass it on through inheritance. Some farmers may want to make sure their farmland remains dedicated to agricultural production for years to come. For those farmers, there are decisions that have to be made related to enrolling the farm into farmland preservation or farmland conservation programs.

With so much to consider, we hope to provide our farmers an opportunity to learn more about their options for farm succession planning at the first session of the 3rd Annual Winter School, to be conducted by N.C. Cooperative Extension of Yancey County. Robert Andrew Branan, Extension Assistant Professor of Agriculture and Environmental Law from NC State University, will be joining us to share recommendations for addressing legal issues and concerns related to farmland succession.

At the Winter School, we will also be sharing about opportunities coming for farmers to enroll the farms into the Yancey County Volunteer Agricultural District (VAD), and Enhanced Volunteer Agricultural District (EVAD) programs. The ability to establish these programs was provided by the Yancey County EVAD/VAD Ordinance which was put into place by the Yancey County Commission in 2017. We will share the benefits of these program, and we will also share about the upcoming opportunity for farmers to enroll in them coming up later in 2023.

N.C. Cooperative Extension of Yancey County will host the 3rd Annual Yancey County Extension Winter School on Thursday January 26, 2023, starting at 6:00 p.m. at the Yancey County Senior Center (located at 503 Medical Campus Dr. in Burnsville). A meal will be provided. Pre-registering by Tuesday, January 24, 2023 is requested to help us with meal planning.

If you would like more information about this upcoming program or if you would like to register please send an email to David Davis (david_davis@ncsu.edu) or call the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Yancey County Center at 828-682-6186.

Farm Succession workshop flyer