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Chapter 5: Case Studies

We invite you to take a look at what other farmers and ranchers have done to ensure their agricultural operations will continue into the next generation. Consider the succession stories of Hank Dolan, working to secure a conservation easement on his family land; the Dean Family, navigating family relationships and financial equity amongst heirs; and Tammy Shafer, managing the family business after the sudden death of her husband. Each story has its own unique characteristics and common threads. These farmers have navigated the intricacies of succession planning and have perspectives that may be useful to you as you work through your own situation.

There is camaraderie in sharing each other’s stories, and we hope that reading through the case studies will give you insight into common challenges and suggestions for overcoming them. As you encounter these real-life examples, you may realize that you are not alone in the succession planning process. About half a million farmers in the United States are expected to retire by 2030. We hope that your farm or ranch will carry on into the future just how you and your family envision it.

– Jennifer Taylor & Maureen Thompson, Center for Land-Based Learning

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