Building the Legacy- Heartache and Triumphs from Transitioning Ranch Families

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2019: $33,781.00
Projected End Date: 02/29/2020
Grant Recipient: Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:
Bethany Johnston
Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: mentoring
  • Farm Business Management: farm succession

    Proposal abstract:

    The trend continues- the average age of ranchers increased, the landowning generation passed over land at high rates, and the number of beginning ranchers dwindled in Nebraska.  The highest production ranch or the ranch in the best financial shape, is only secondary to generational transfer. Nothing is more important to sustainability than transfer, especially if the ranch is split up and sold.  A group of ranchers wanted to reverse the trend, and started sharing their personal stories about transition.  Instead of field or livestock tours, the ranchers invited participants into their sorrows, emotions, and triumphs of transition.  The Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition (NGLC) found success in their generational transfer meetings held across Nebraska with a producer panel and experienced agriculture estate planning attorney.  Participants learned from the producer panel’s experiences, asked legal and transition questions, and left with hope and renewed desire to finish their transitional plan.  With support, the NGLC plans to continue hosting generational transfer meetings, as well as one-on-one follow-up support through a newly hired ranch task manager.  The task manager will consult with individual families to guide and refer them through landmines and roadblocks that occur in communication, legal, and financial aspects.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Generation transition workshops will be hosted in conjunction with the NGLC Summer Grazing Tour and in the fall/winter months.  A producer panel will give on-farm “tours” of their personal, family, and business struggles and triumphs of succession.  An experienced estate planning attorney will explain helpful legal tools for successful transfer.  Participants can ask questions from the producer(s) sharing their story, or ask legal questions of the attorney.  Farms or ranches can follow up with the ranch transition task manager, who will guide and facilitate the families closely through their succession plan, with the ultimate goal of a completed succession plan.

    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.