In just a few days, SFA members and others will be gathering for the SFA Annual Conference on Feb. 13 in St. Joseph. If you’ve not registered, you really should. Every year, we’ve seen increasing numbers, and this year is no different. To make sure you get a program and a seat, go ahead and pre-register now before registration ends Thursday.
One of the topics we’ll be discussing at the conference is Farm Incubation. Even in what most people would consider the most likely scenario for success, the situation where an existing successful farm business is being passed on to someone in the family who has grown up on the farm, the incubation period is quite long.
When I was in college, I met dozens of farm kids who were planning to “take over the family farm” upon graduation. These were mostly large, corn-soybean farms in the heart of the corn belt. Today, nearly 30 years after graduating, only a few of my friends have actually completed the transition. To be sure, this extended transition is due in part to the exiting generation and their timetable, but its also due to the fact that every year, farming is different; success this year doesn’t mean success next year, or the year after.
Family farm transitions are just as difficult as new startups. Farm incubation, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the transition, is a critical component of launching that farm under new ownership and management.
SFA is working to develop successful farm incubation models, particularly for those prospective farmers who are not in line to inherit a farm business from within the family. Are you interested in learning or sharing your story? Come on Saturday and join us!