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Growing the next generation of farmers

Retiring farmers can learn how to pass their business on to the next generation, and aspiring farmers can find out how to acquire land during a workshop from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, 569 Hanley Road, Central Point.

Tickets to “Changing Hands: A Workshop on Farm Transfer and Access to Land” cost $20 before Feb. 9 and $30 after that date. The fee includes a breakfast and lunch.

Tickets and more information are available at roguefarmcorps.org/planning.

During the next 20 years, 10.5 million acres — or 64 percent — of Oregon’s farm and range land is expected to change hands as farmers and ranchers reach retirement age, according to the nonprofit organization Rogue Farms Corps, which is presenting the workshop.

There is no guarantee that those lands will stay in production, or that there will be a new generation to take the helm. And if new farmers and ranchers emerge, it’s not easy to transfer ownership and management of agricultural lands, Rogue Farms Corps warns.

“The tidal wave of farmland transitions isn’t coming — we’re in the middle of it,” said Nellie McAdams, Rogue Farm Corps farmland preservation program director. “But we also have the solutions at our fingertips. This event is designed to help people discover and take the next step toward transitioning or accessing land.”

At the workshop, farmers and ranchers will learn from a lawyer how to prepare for succession. They will also learn about the human side of succession planning, including how to communicate with family members, avoid conflict and preserve the viability of the family as well as the land.

Beginning and expanding farmers and ranchers will hear how to develop a business plan and access financing.

The workshop is a place where beginning farmers and ranchers seeking land and opportunities can connect with those retiring from agriculture, according to Rogue Farm Corps.

123rf.comTickets to “Changing Hands: A Workshop on Farm Transfer and Access to Land” are $20 before Feb. 9 and $30 after that date. The fee includes a breakfast and lunch.