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From the Fields: Traditions and Transitions

Corn seedling

By Amber Keller, Town Bank

I am looking forward to seeing many of you next week at the WBA Ag Bankers Conference. It will be great to reconnect, share stories and experiences, and learn about the latest trends and tips for navigating this agricultural super-cycle and these tenuous times in our world today. Whether you are new to farm lending or have been around the block a few times, there is still much to learn. Yet, some things do not change all that much- sound credit analysis and risk identification, assessment of farm management competencies, optimum use of technology and labor mix, as well as strategic planning for long-term success.

One of the strategic planning topics to be featured at our conference is farm succession and estate planning. Many of us are familiar with estate planning, as it relates to making plans for the business and assets when one passes on. However, farm succession planning also includes what happens to the business and our assets while one is still living. That’s just as important and even more so.

Think of farm succession planning as a way to build a road map for operations and enterprise growth, better defined job roles, knowledge and management transfer, and business decisions to be made by delegation, empowerment, or consensus as a team. Attorneys, accountants, lenders, and others can help farm families view their farms as dynamic businesses, respecting those long-standing traditions and embracing innovations with open minds. Indeed, that’s some powerful planning with purpose.

The legal professionals at Wilson Law Group will share with us some important concepts to consider when referring our clients for farm succession and estate planning services. They help farmers, business owners, and farm land owners plan and protect the assets and legacies they have built and transition them to the next generation and beyond. Hope you can join us next week! I’ll see you in the Dells!

Amber Keller is the current vice chair of the WBA Agricultural Bankers Section Board of Directors and is the senior vice president, director of ag banking with Town Bank in Clinton.