WI Farm Center, Easter Seals Wisconsin, and AgrAbility to partner on Beginning Farmer Project

logo idea 5Hannah Barthels

Outreach Specialist, AgrAbility of Wisconsin

608-262-9336 gerbitz@wisc.edu





WI Farm Center, Easter Seals Wisconsin, and AgrAbility to partner on Beginning Farmer Project

MADISON, WI- The Easter Seals Wisconsin FARM program recently was awarded $496,914 by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a three-year project, Securing Beginning Farmers Through Succession Planning. The project addresses the need of Wisconsin farmers who do not have succession plans in place, estimated at 56% of farmers over the age of 55, to ensure the successful transition of farm operations to the next generation of beginning farmers.

Succession plans are essential for farms to continue to grow throughout the generations. Devoting time to creating a sustainable succession plan is an essential component of every farm operation. Easter Seals Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Farm Center (part of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection) will be partners on this project. The long term goal is to increase the number of beginning farmers in Wisconsin by developing, with farmers and farm families, a secure and sustainable succession plan for beginning farmers to assume management of their own farm business operation.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with the partners we have on this project, to provide essential farm succession planning not only to our clients, but also to individuals looking to begin a career in farming, or to current farmers looking to find a successor for their operation,” said Paul Leverenz, Vice President of the Easter Seals FARM program.

The farmers and farm families will be provided guidance, information and assistance throughout the succession planning process, which may include on-farm site visits, individual and family discussions, matching with potential beginning farmers when there is not a named successor, and assistance with retirement plans, tax and inheritance issues. This project will be promoted through AgrAbility of Wisconsin, an Easter Seals Wisconsin – UW-Extension partnership, dedicated to helping farmers with a disability continue to farm.