Ranching families plan for the next generation

January 4, 2008

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Ranching is a long-term investment, so when it’s time to pass on the family ranch or estate, long-term planning is necessary. A new series of workshops will help ranch owners plan transitions from one generation to the next.

"The old truism that 'failing to plan is planning to fail' is really true with ranch succession," said Bart Eleveld, an Oregon State University economist and one of the organizers of the workshops.

"We ask ranchers what would happen if they died suddenly, say, in a car wreck,” Eleveld said. “Would their ranch survive to be passed to heirs? Or would taxes and legal fees eat up so much that the ranch would have to be carved up or sold?"

Succession plans are all about communicating between spouses and generations, Eleveld noted. "What are your goals? What do you want the future to look like? How will you get there?"

The workshop will help ranching families prepare good succession plans, designed to anticipate all possible events so that a family's goals for the future of their ranch are achieved.

The workshop, "Ties to the Land: Succession Planning for Ranching Families," is sponsored by OSU's Extension Service, OSU's Austin Family Business Program, the Oregon's Cattlemen's Association and the USDA Risk Management Agency.

The first of the two sessions will be offered in January at the following locations and dates:

Eugene, OSU Extension office, Jan. 15
Baker City, "The Sunridge," Jan. 23
Prineville, OSU Extension office, Jan. 24
Klamath Falls, OSU Extension office, Jan. 29
Burns, Burns District BLM office in Hines, Jan. 30

The second, follow-up sessions are yet to be scheduled, but they will happen in the spring after calving season. Topics covered during the first session include establishing your legacy, organizing and conducting family meetings, institutional constraints, laws and taxes, choosing professional partners, and forming an action plan.

Participants will leave the first session with the tools they need to get started on an action plan. The second session focuses on refining the plans families made during the winter months.

All interested family members are encouraged to attend. Examples will be oriented toward livestock operations, but farming families are welcome, too.

Registration will cost $50 per family operation for both sessions. Workshops will open with beverages at 9:30 a.m.; the program will run from 10 a.m. to approximately 3 p.m. Lunch will be served for an additional per-person charge collected at the door.

Registration forms are available at most OSU Extension offices and on the "Calendar" page of the OCA website: http://www.orcattle.com/calendar.htm

Author: Peg Herring
Source: Bart Eleveld