Life After Harvest: Family Farm Retirement Planning

Have you been spending time thinking about the greener pastures of retirement?  Are you concerned with how you’ll be receiving income in retirement, without the income from the farm?  How much do you know about the Capital Gains Exemption?  Have you considered the tax implications of operating as a sole proprietor versus a partnership or a corporation, and how they will affect you today and in the future? Do you have a plan in place for someone to pass the farm down to?  The Life After Harvest workshops were created to help you answer these questions, plus many more.

“We’ve had some great success in providing a ‘service’ to farmers that helps them with a financial solution for the outgoing generation” says Riley Sittler, Life After Harvest’s Retirement Planning Specialist. “More so than ever before, farm operations have become larger and larger and the need for guidance while operating or exiting the farm has grown.  We saw a need in the marketplace and we hoped to fill it with this program.”

The Life After Harvest workshops focus on 3 main topics: Business Structures, the Capital Gains Exemption, and Transitioning off the Family Farm, and were created to help educate 2 generations of farmers at the same time; the incoming generation and the outgoing generation.  Both generations have something to gain from the workshop as this can be treated as a farm business acumen course of sorts, as discussion focuses on how to prepare yourself for a ‘transition’ off or onto the farm.

“Having grown up on family farms ourselves, and having our parents go through the transition phase of the program in different aspects, we wondered how much this could change if we spoke with farmers earlier on in the process,” says Jeremy Basset, Program Director. “Farmers typically take any added revenue and, generally speaking, put it back into the farm and they aren’t usually saving money for their retirement, personally.  We felt with proper guidance from professionals such as ourselves, farmers and farm families could benefit from learning how to do a bit of both, and maintain the viability of the farm for the incoming generation, while also utilizing all the tools available to them to be able to exit the farm and have a rewarding retirement.”

Life After Harvest workshops also give attendees the opportunity to ask the questions that have been keeping them up at night about exiting the farming operation.  “We cover some of the ‘soft issues’ as well, and it’s not often surprising to hear some of the questions we receive,” stated Sittler. “Since it’s usually a ‘family’ farming situation, we have several concerns often mentioned such as what to do with non-farming children and how to treat everyone fairly, and also not leaving the incoming generation with all kinds of debts that they will be left paying back. 

Life After Harvest workshops are free to attend and will hopefully be that additional service to help keep your family farm in operation for several generations to come.