The Partnership’s next major event is the Tennessee Farmland Legacy Conference on Nov. 11-12 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. At the conference farmers, landowners and community leaders will have the opportunity to learn about protecting and growing today’s farms for tomorrow’s families and communities.

Prior to Nov. 1, for a modest $50 ($25 for farmers), participants may register to attend presentations on farm estate planning, profitability and timber management for landowners and planning techniques that protect farmland while enhancing economic growth for community leaders. Presenters will explain how communities and farmers can benefit from working together.

Some of the speakers scheduled to present are Ron Hanson from the University of Nebraska and Peggy Kirk Hall from the Center for Policy Innovation at Ohio State University. Hanson, a nationally known speaker, will talk about the issues and challenges of farm transfer from one generation to the next and Hall, legal director for the Center, will be speaking about the legal issues that pose threats to the long-term viability of today’s agriculture.

Discussion topics will also include tools for protecting farmland, incentives for forest landowners, as well as other agriculture and community issues affecting today’s farmers.

Participants may register online for the Tennessee Farmland Legacy Conference at or by calling 865-974-0280 or 1-800-429-7700. Registrations will be accepted after Nov. 1, but the fee increases to $100 ($50 for farmers). 

Planning for the future is essential, says Rhea. She advocates that families take an active role in succession planning. “Competing interests among family members, economic and development pressures or a combination of reasons make the topic difficult for some to approach,” says Rhea, “but failing to plan is not generally a good solution for the family or for society. It may leave us with a future shortage of productive farmland.”