Passing the farm on to the next generation often proves to be a difficult task for farm families. K-State Research and Extension, the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics and the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas are teaming up to present a workshop series aimed at making the transition easier.

Organizers of the "Keeping the Family Farming" workshops are designed to help farm families take a proactive approach to solving problems that often arise in the transitional process.

"For many years, we´ve received referrals from the Kansas Ag Mediation Service," said Duane Hund, coordinator of the K-State Farm Analyst Program. "Many of those revolved around transitional issues gone wrong."

The point of the workshops, Hund said, is to help resolve financial and family issues that tend to pop up when families try to figure out how to best pass the farm to the next generation. Conflicts can arise during the planning process, Hund said, because farm transition often involves change, which some family members are more open to than others.

"Keeping the Family Farming" will help families avoid conflict by providing them with an opportunity to communicate openly with each other, Hund said.

"Many conflicts come from people assuming things," he said. "We´ll probe for those assumptions and bring them into the open and discuss them."

Topics discussed during the conference will include a financial analysis of the operation, developing a fair plan for passing the farm on, planning for retirement, evaluating the goals of each family member, evaluating the financial feasibility of adding another generation to the operation and estate planning.

Hund said he and other organizers believe the workshop setting will be an excellent venue for people to work on and discuss each issue. Among the issues that cause conflict among family members, Hund said, is estate planning.

"If mom and dad aren´t open, it leads to assumptions," he said. "They need to be clear on who gets what."

The two-workshop series will be offered at two locations. Workshops will be held Dec. 7-8 and Jan. 25-26 in Junction City. The series will also be offered in Hays Dec. 14-15 and Feb. 1-2. Those interested in attending either workshop must register by Nov. 14. Registration is $200 per family of four and is limited to 30 families at each location.

In addition to the workshops, for an additional fee, K-State´s Farm Analyst Program will send an analyst to work with families on economic analysis and to visit privately about any issues they feel need additional discussion outside of the workshop setting.

"There´s no cookie cutter approach that says, `Here´s what we do,´" Hund said. "It´s all based on communication between family members."

More information is available by contacting Rodney Jones in the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics at 785-532-1957 or visit www.agmanager.info/Transitions/2007.