sealPurdue News

December 30, 2002

Purdue workshop brings together farmers, next generation

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Generation gaps can be obstacles in keeping family farms within a family. A Purdue University workshop focuses on plugging the communication holes between today's farm operator and the son or daughter they hope to pass the operation on to tomorrow.

The 23rd annual Farming Together Workshop invites farmers and their children or other future farming partners to a weekend of educational sessions and discussions on passing the agricultural torch. The workshop takes place Jan. 31 to Feb. 1 at Purdue's West Lafayette campus.

Registration is $50 per family or business partnership group through Jan. 10, and $60 after that date. Enrollment is limited to about 50.

"Many people would like to see their children have the opportunity to come back to the farm and carry on the farming tradition," said Alan Miller, a farm business management specialist in Purdue's Department of Agricultural Economics and the workshop coordinator.

"This workshop is about starting the process of getting the different family members together to talk about those issues. We'll address such questions as 'Where are we going to go with the operation?' 'How are we going to transfer the management of the operation?' and 'How are we going to develop the son or daughter who's coming back to the farm into the next manager of the farm operation?'"

Sometimes there is no next generation to leave the farm to, Miller said. The Farming Together Workshop also caters to other arrangements, he said.

"We've broadened this over the years to include other types of situations," he said. "For example, a couple of brothers who want might want to go into farming together and individuals who are unrelated who want to start this process."

Workshop speakers include Purdue specialists and a farm management consultant.

"There are four key sessions," Miller said. "Our keynote speaker the first evening is Bob Taylor, who's well known to many people in the state and is a professor here at Purdue. He'll talk about working with family and staying friends in the process. A program by Janet Ayres, a Purdue Extension leadership development specialist, deals with effective communication and personal relations in a family business.

"We'll also have a question-and-answer session with Gerald Harrison, a Purdue agricultural economist and an attorney. We hope that participants will come prepared with a legal question that they've been putting off for some time. And Don Tyler with Tyler and Associates Management Consulting will talk about putting a family business together."

Other speakers and their topics include:

• Cole Ehmke, research associate in Purdue's Center for Food and Agricultural Business – "Strategic Planning: Developing a Shared Vision for the Future of the Farm."

• Craig Dobbins, Purdue Extension agricultural economist – "Farming Together: Assessing Your Resources" and "Organizational Structure, Compensation, Evaluation and Other Issues in Managing the Multiple Owner-Operator Farm."

• Miller – "Developing a Management Succession Plan" and "Farming Together: Different Ways to Share Ownership and Management."

Purdue specialists will be on hand to facilitate conversation among groups and help them work through issues.

A Farming Together Workshop registration form and brochure is available online. Additional information also is available by contacting Miller at (765) 494-4203 or by e-mail at

Writer: Steve Leer, (765) 494-8415,

Source: Alan Miller, (765) 494-4203,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes,;

Related Web site:

Purdue University Department of Agricultural Economics

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