Today's tough economy gives experienced farmers an opportunity to teach younger counterparts planning and decision-making skills they might not learn in good times, a Purdue University agricultural economist says.

Those looking to pass their operation on to next-generation farmers can show them how to plan strategically and make decisions under poor market conditions, said business planning specialist Angela Gloy.

"This type of real-world, real-time education cannot be simulated in the classroom, nor is it necessarily intuitive," she said. "Good managers will recognize and act upon opportunities to teach the next generation about which cost-saving measures you're implementing, the trade-offs involved in one choice over another, and the short- and long-run implications behind each decision. In short, you're teaching how to manage under conditions of not just price volatility, but also extremely low price levels."

One of the financial benefits of a recession is that it can be a time of low interest rates, which helps young people buy into a portion of the farm business if they are prepared. 

To make a successful transition in management, each farm should have a plan outlining leadership roles, marketing strategies, the direction of the business and other related concerns, Gloy said. Bringing in another generation affects the operation in so many ways that strong planning is a low-cost means of reducing some risks.