A Multifaceted Farm Succession Plan Development Program Via Virtual and in Person Learning and Assistance Opportunities

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2021: $148,980.00
Projected End Date: 02/29/2024
Grant Recipient: Pennsylvania Farm Link, Inc.
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:
Darlene Livingston
Pennsylvania Farm Link, Inc.

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: other, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: farm succession

    Proposal abstract:

    Problem and Justification:

    2017 NASS Ag Census reports 49,690 Pennsylvania farm owners 55 and over. A dramatic 50.8% increase from the 2012 Ag Census reporting 32,950 farmers age 55 and over, and 425,776 acres or 5.5% of farmland lost during the same time frame. 

    While the hub of this project is in Pennsylvania the problem does not end at the state’s borders. The problem is the same across the Northeast region as well as around the nation. The average age of farmers is 57.2 in the states surrounding Pennsylvania. Therefore, the project will partner with ag professionals who serve farmers in Maryland, West Virginia, New Jersey, New York to aid a larger region and broader group of farmers.

    In 2019 when asked to list any topic that would assist them in their farm business 41 farmers polled responded with 83% (20) topics relating to farm succession education.

    In PA Farm Link's survey of farmers following farm succession workshops in 2020, participants suggest recording the program and posting online for family members to view.

    Solution and Approach:

    A multifaceted farm succession program combining a blog platform with weekly farm succession blog posts, webinars, zoom meetings and in person workshops as well as connecting farmers to ag professionals for farm succession assistance will provide a program that encompasses all the important aspects of farmer support and provides a holistic approach to farm succession.

    The weekly blog platform supplies farm succession information at weekly intervals similar to the weekly market reports farmers depend on.

    Webinars and zoom meetings provide further farm succession education through professional presentations and farmers sharing both positive and challenging experiences.

    Through their increased knowledge and farm succession becoming an everyday topic farmers will be ready to set aside the time necessary for in person farm succession workshops where they will gain greater understanding and connect with ag professionals to assist them in creating farm succession documents.

    Farmers from outside of Pennsylvania joining virtually will be linked to ag professionals in their state and/or region. This will be done through qualified ag professionals from those states who are participating in the program.

    The holistic approach addresses the need for farm succession to become an everyday topic. One farmers plan for as they plan next year’s crops.  One they act upon through the development of succession documents, ensuring the sustainability of the farmer and the farm.

    Resulting in 80 farmers draft farm transition/succession documents through succession knowledge gained and ag professional assistance providing succession security for 8000 acres of farmland. Annually the farms contribute approximately $2,400,000 to the rural economy of the Northeast.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    80 farmers will draft farm transition/succession documents as a result of knowledge gained through succession education and Ag professional assistance providing succession security for 8000 acres of farmland. Annually the farms contribute approximately $2,400,000 to the rural economy of the Northeast.

    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.