Farm transfer, beginning farmers are major tracks at Practical Farmers’ 2016 annual conference – Jan. 22-23 in Ames

For Release: January 15, 2016

AMES, Iowa — When it comes to the future of farmland, it’s critical to start farm transition planning early, says Bob Lynch, who operates Lynch Farms near Gilmore City.

“You need to be proactive and plan ahead of time,” Bob says. “If you want the farm to stay in the same family, you need to have a farm plan in place, so you don’t lose it to taxes, or through family squabbling or differences.”

Bob and his wife, Linda, are the fourth generation to farm at Lynch Farms, and their son Jay is the fifth generation. Bob says his father planned ahead by choosing to gift part of the farm to him, and he and Linda have a plan in place to ensure the farm will transfer to Jay.

“We have set in place in our will how Jay can take over the farm business at a fair market rate, versus the higher rate, so he can start farming,” Bob says. “Whether you create a farm plan boils down to what you want for the future of your assets. If you want to have a say in how your assets are handled, you start planning early. If you don’t care what happens, or are okay with those assets being handled by your heirs, then you don’t plan.”

Bob and Linda will share their farm transfer story at Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2016 annual conference, “Farmers Teaching Farmers,” taking place Jan. 22-23, at the Iowa State Center Scheman Building, on the Iowa State University campus in Ames.

In a session titled “Five Generations of Farm Transfer,” Bob and Linda will discuss how they took over the farm and how they plan to transfer the business to their son. Experts John Baker, staff attorney for Iowa State University’s Beginning Farmer Center, and Doug Follmann, manager of Town & Country Insurance, will offer feedback.

The conference features many other sessions focused on farm transition and beginning famers. Learn how to articulate what matters most about your farmland legacy; participate in discussion on the future of farmland ownership in Iowa; learn about writing a strong business plan – and more.

Farm Transfer and Beginning Farmer Sessions Include:

• Farmland Legacies: What Matters Most?
• Understanding Farm Rules and Regulations
• Business Plan Vetting
• Effective Farm Mentorships: Training the Trainer
• Five Generations of Farm Transfer
• Introduction to Government Programs for Farmers
• Ask an Expert: Dave Baker, Beginning Farmer Center

This year’s conference celebrates the farmer-led approach to learning, teaching and sharing information that has been Practical Farmers’ hallmark for 30 years. Attendees will learn from their farming peers about land and soil stewardship; building community; creating viable farms, farmers and food systems; farm transfer; and more.

Keynote Address: The conference will feature a keynote address on Friday, Jan. 23, by John Kempf, farmer and founder of Advancing Eco-Agriculture. His keynote – “Common Characteristics of Successful Farmers” – will explore characteristics of farming operations he views as “extraordinarily successful,” and how farmers can work those same principles into their decision-making.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2016 annual conference is supported by several major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Grain Millers; Iowa Learning Farms; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy and Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Natural Soy Products; Natural Way Feeds; Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area; Sunrise Sheds; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; and WeedGuard Plus.


Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit

Teresa Opheim | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |
Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |