Improving the Sustainability of Family Farms Through Increased Understanding of the Effects of Medicaid on Farm Assets

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $38,560.00
Projected End Date: 04/30/2025
Grant Recipient: Pennsylvania Farm Link, Inc.
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:
Darlene Livingston
Pennsylvania Farm Link, Inc.


Not commodity specific


  • Farm Business Management: farm succession

    Proposal abstract:

    Problem or Opportunity and Justification: Long-term care costs and therefore Medicaid liens are the largest threat to the transfer of farm assets. (Jody A. Leighty, 2020) Ag professionals require better understanding of Medicaid risks when consulting farm families about a succession plan and the transfer of farmland to the next generation.

    41,530 (59%) of Pennsylvania farm owners are 55 and over. (National Agriculture Statistics Service, 2017) 66% of Americans will require nursing home care. (American Council of Aging, 2022) Therefore 27409 Pennsylvania farm owners age 55 and over face long-term care needs and related risks to owned assets within 20 years. Farmland is normally the largest owned asset and often transferred at death due to favorable Pennsylvania laws.

    Solution and Approach A hybrid continued education event, the preferred model of learning, for ag professionals will be held. (Livingston, 2022) Expert elder law attorney MacGregor Brillhart, will share Medicaid rules and explain the five year look back and provide in-depth discussion regarding its impact on the family farm and farm assets.

    35 service providers will learn options to mitigate the impact of Medicaid funded long term care on the family farm and farm assets. Ag professionals will utilize the knowledge while working with 105 farm families who own 12000 acres of farmland.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    35 Pennsylvania ag professionals will utilize asset planning strategies and increased Medicaid and the five year look back knowledge to educate farmers about the effects of Medicaid on farm assets. 105 Pennsylvania farmers with 12000 acres of land will minimize Medicaid risk to farm assets through documents drafted as a result of assistance provided by ag professionals and knowledge gained in the farmer training program.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.