November 3, Mantorville, MINN. - There is a massive turnover of farmland coming. 93 million acres (10 percent of U.S. farmland) is expected to be transferred during the next five years alone. More than half (57 percent) of principal landlords are 65 years or older, while only 18 percent are less than 55 years old.
A lot of family communication and careful planning will need to take place to make this farmland transition go more smoothly. To get people thinking, Renewing the Countryside will be hosting a performance of Map of My Kingdom, a play tackling the critical issue of farmland ownership transfer, on Sunday, November 13, at 2 pm, at the Mantorville Historic Opera House.
The play, written by Mary Swander, features a farm transfer advisor as she relates a variety of families' experiences with farm succession. Many families struggle with this transition; others tackle the issues and emerge with both family and farmland intact. The play was commissioned by Practical Farmers of Iowa and has been performed more than 50 times since its premiere.
According to Teresa Opheim, Director of the Farm Transfer Program at Practical Farmers of Iowa, "The play is a good way to begin to understand the tremendous farmland transition that is about to take place in the region as many farmland owners reach their later years. Many farmers will lose farmland, their source of livelihood during this transition, unless we tackle these issues."
There are so many critical questions to ask in considering farmland transfer. What do landowners want most for their farmland? What happens to the family as well as the family's farmland? How does one pay for retirement and still keep the farm? Should the acres be divided "equally" or should the child who stayed home to farm be compensated more? If the land is divided equally among the siblings, how does the son or daughter farming the land continue farming? Should you tell your heirs your decision for the next owner of the land or should the heirs be informed after your passing? Should life insurance be purchased for the sibling heirs not wanting to farm and not wanting to own the family farm? If there are many parcels of land, who decides who gets what parcel?
Join us November 13 for this innovative play, follow-up discussion and time to talk individually with farm succession experts. Fellow farmland owners: Let's start talking.
The play and discussion last about two hours, and a reception -- and an opportunity to talk individually with farm transfer experts -- will follow. Tickets are $5 per person and available at the door. The Mantorville Historic Opera House is 15 miles west of Rochester, just a half block west of Highway 57 on 5th Street in Mantorville.
Sponsors include Minnesota Farmers Union, AgStar Financial Services, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Hellmuth & Johnson Law Firm and The McKnight Foundation. For more information about the play, see www.maryswander.com . For more information about the event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612-251-7304.
About Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), a donor-supported foundation, invests for economic growth in the 20 counties of south central and southeastern Minnesota. The Foundation has provided more than $100 million in grants, loans and programming within the region during the past 30 years. SMIF's key interests include early childhood, community and economic development. To learn more about our work and mission, visit www.smifoundation.org.
About Renewing the Countryside
Renewing the Countryside works to bring inspiration, ideas, resources and assistance to those looking for sustainable ways to strengthen their rural communities. For nearly 15 years, they have done this through public education, economic development initiatives and technical assistance. Their main constituencies are current and aspiring sustainable business owners, farmland owners, and the general public. Visit www.renewingthecountryside.org for more information.