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Recognizing the educational needs of farming and ranching families, North Dakota State University Extension will offer Design Your Succession Plan (DYSP) workshops virtually in March 2021.

The curriculum includes information developed specifically for those considering transitioning away from full-time farming or ranching, as well as information for the next generation of farm/ranch owners.

“Preparing the next generation to weather this uncertain environment is an important part of these potential retirements and important to the future farm/ranch legacy,” says Carrie Johnson, NDSU Extension’s personal and family finance specialist.

The dates for live sessions are March 4, March 11 and March 18. Each live session is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Central time.

DYSP workshops help farm and ranch families think about what they want for their business, explore the options and consider the consequences of each option before making any decisions. Some may wish to transfer a viable business to the next generation. Others may wish to divide the farm or ranch assets and want to determine an acceptable way to do that.

“Very often, the two or more generations already are working together but have not yet taken the steps toward succession planning,” Johnson says. “It is often one of those things all parties know they should be doing, but they just haven’t gotten around to it, or they don’t know where or how to start.

“Family farms and ranches are the family legacy,” she adds. “DYSP workshops give the owner and the identified successor generation an opportunity to begin shaping the future ownership of the family farm or ranch.”

Family discussions about the future of the family farm can be difficult conversations. DYSP workshop participants learn how to start and sustain those discussions and get started on developing a succession plan. They also learn about choosing and preparing to work with legal and financial professionals who will help make sure the plan is workable.

“I felt this was what I really needed,” says David Miller, a Donnybrook, N.D.-area producer who attended the workshops. “It gave me a road map to do what I want to do.”

Families who begin the succession planning process during the DYSP workshops and continue it at home can cut costs because they are well-prepared to meet and work efficiently and effectively with legal and financial professionals, according to Johnson.

Participants will receive weekly emails with links to the virtual workshops (via Zoom), links to videos and homework assignments. Participants are asked to complete activities before the live workshops so they are prepared for the discussion.

During the live workshops, Extension agents from across the state will engage with participants through various discussions and learning activities.

Visit https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/succession for more information and to register.