It is never too early to start thinking about planning for the future of your family and farm. Without thorough financial planning you may pay more taxes than necessary, your family may be unable to keep the farm if something happens to you. These situations may seem far off for your farm, but the only way to prevent them from happening is to start planning as soon as possible.
Maine Farmland Trust suggests the following resources, which will help you with your farm transfer, and how to get started with this planning process.
• American Farmland Trust Publications
You can purchase Your Land is Your Legacy: A Guide to Planning for the Future of Your Farm, by Jeremiah Cosgrove and Julia Freedgood and published by the American Farmland Trust. This publication reviews tax issues, conservation options and estate planning. One take-away message from it: “It’s never too early to start planning” (http://www.farmlandinfo.org/your-land-is-your-legacy).
• Center for Agriculture & Food Systems
Discover how farm leasing can help new farmers access land and build equity. Explore creative arrangements for making farmland affordable and understand methods and strategies for transferring a farm to the next generation with this great Build A Lease Tool (https://farmlandaccess.org/leasing/).
• Farm Credit East
Along with other financial services, Farm Credit East provides assistance with estate planning (https://www.farmcrediteast.com/).
• Maine Farm Bureau
The Maine Farm Bureau provides estate planning seminars to members. You can view other membership benefits at: http://www.mainefarmbureau.com/membership.
• Planning for a Secure Retirement—Purdue Extension
Includes modules to walk you through the steps of planning for your retirement, including financial security, housing and health care. Site also includes a list of useful links for retirement planning (https://ag.purdue.edu/programs/areyouprepared/secureretirement/Pages/default.aspx).
• Retirement Estimator from Purdue University
Helps retiring farmers estimate the amount of money they need to live comfortably in retirement. A useful planning resource (http://www.ces.purdue.edu/farmretirement)