Business Development, Transition & Succession

Planning for the future of a farm business is complex. There are many moving parts.   Extension’s network of County Educators and State Specialists assist with workshops and one-on-one consulting with farm families working on their farm succession plans, including the communication, financial, and estate planning issues that surround farm succession.

Getting started

Three questions: where is the farm now? where do you want to be? how do you get there?
Three questions to ask yourself when planning the future of a farm business

Planning tools

Creating a farm’s operating agreement: time well spent
Identifying strategies to maximize potential and minimize risk

Programs offered by Extension

Shifting Gears

Contact us to learn about how you can attend a retirement planning session for farmers in order to estimate your living needs and income streams. Participants will also consider what you will do with your time and consider estate planning options as you shift gears towards retirement. Contact: Joy Kirkpatrick, Outreach Specialist for UW Center for Dairy Profitability,

Cultivating Your Farm Future

Having intentional conversations around farm succession and developing future plans for the farm provides a better chance of transition success. Cultivating Your Farm’s Future helps farm business members and families through farm succession planning. Even if the owner generation is planning to be a part of the management for 10+ years from now, starting early can help the process go more smoothly. It provides the succession generation time to develop their management skills and provides the farm time to build or increase its financial stability to include another generation. Learn more about this program

Farm enterprise diversification

Extension offers resources, information and networking opportunities for farmers interested in exploring and assessing new business ideas or revenue streams to their operations.  Resources help farmers assess feasibility and critical success factors of new or additional enterprises including value-added production, and marketing and business strategies.

Renewed interest in revenue stream diversification aims to reduce the income variability of the farm business.  Diversification typically reduces large year-to-year variations in income and may ensure adequate cash flow for meeting production costs, debt obligations, and family living needs. However, acquiring knowledge about an alternative business, expertise on new production or marketing practices, or information on equipment may be costly. Expanding into new areas or experimenting with new enterprises will increase capital investment requirements.

The Resilient Farms Conference offered annually by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Extension in partnership with Compeer Financial, is a farmer-to-farmer, peer-to-peer learning opportunity with 20+ examples of farms that added new revenue streams and includes sessions for business planning and financial education, guides to regulatory and licensing processes.  The conference encourages farmers to look broadly at all of the assets on their farms and think creatively about ways in which they can use those assets to add cash flow.

Diversification Resources



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