Delaware State Program Project: Estate Planning and Farm Succession

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2015: $14,790.00
Funds awarded in 2016: $14,609.00
Projected End Date: 10/31/2017
Grant Recipient: University of Delaware
Region: Northeast
State: Delaware
State Coordinator:
Dan Severson
University of Delaware

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Farm Business Management: Estate Planning and Farm Succession

    Proposal abstract:

    Farm succession planning is a business and risk management practice that is critical to the agricultural industry and specifically to the health of families and farm businesses.  Business succession is multi-faceted, requires a gradual shift and periodic review. Communication is key to the process, yet succession planning is a difficult and complex topic to discuss among family members – for a variety of reasons. To begin a conversation about succession planning, one must be informed about the elements involved, and the critical role of each of those elements – why, how, and when.

    Over the course of two years, this project will provide education to farmers (and their families) who are considering transferring farm ownership. Many of the targeted operators are farmers who farm with parents or other family members, or may have purchased their own farm land, or may work for an established farm business that has no “next generation”.  All of these situations present opportunities for farmers to begin or to continue the process of succession planning.

    Twenty five farmers with interest in learning more about farm transition and related business succession concerns will be recruited to participate in this two-year project. A team of 5 ag service professionals from risk management, farm finance, insurance and agricultural legal services will both facilitate the trainings and participate in them as co-learners, building their knowledge and skills in the content areas outside of their areas of expertise. As a result of this model, all ag service provider participants will become better able to educate and advise their farmer clients. 


    Performance targets from proposal:

    Twenty farmer participants will take one or more actions recommended by the project such as developing a business plan, mission statement or family communication plan; and engaging in succession planning conversations with other generations and planning professionals. Five agricultural service providers who learn through this project will provide education and/or advice to 20 additional farmers about the information and strategies learned. 

    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.