Production and Processing

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June: Shared P&P and FAS Working Group Meeting on Farm Succession

The Production & Processing (P&P) and Farmland Access and Stewardship (FAS) Working Groups hosted a shared meeting to focus on issues of farm transition and succession.  In addition to networking and shared learning across the groups, an important third goal was to identify some opportunities and action steps the two groups could undertake together.  Cris Coffin of Land for Good presented results from a recent study of New England farmers around transition/succession.  Following that, the stories of Judy Jarvis (pre-retiring farmer) and Paul Lisai (new farmer) were shared.  The group discussed themes arising from the information, then brainstormed around 1) what’s being done in this topical area now; 2) where are gaps; and 3) what next steps could the two working groups take together?

The themes we highlighted yesterday as potential areas of focus included:

  • Older beginning farmers
  • Retirement planning (all stages of the age spectrum)
  • Business viability
  • Apprenticeships (technical/production AND business management)
  • Family dynamics

Next steps included:

·        Increased incorporation of these issues into existing conferences, workshops, etc.

·        Professional development (and possibly shared grantwriting partnerships) to raise the knowledge level of all technical service providers (public, non profit and private) around issues of farmer retirement, viability, and succession planning in order to start conversations earlier.

·        Investigation into farm apprenticeship and internship structures; what has worked and what has not, and whether a common internship structure could be developed.