Penn State Extension offers farm succession planning program

PHOTO PROVIDED Kyle Courter feeds steers in the morning with grandfather Paul Courter, while Kyle’s dog, Riggs, grooms a cow’s muzzle. Kyle will harvest soybeans later in the day. Paul Courter and his wife, Dee, are lifelong farmers and have been farming at Maple Brook Farms in Mill Hall since 1983.

Penn State Extension will offer “What’s Your Exit Strategy? – Empowering Families To Get Started On Their Succession Plan” as a two-day workshop on Dec 7 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Montoursville Presbyterian Church, 900 Elm St., Montoursville.

“What’s Your Exit Strategy” provides tactics for answering the sensitive questions: How will the family farm business operate when the owner retires or is gone? Is the farmer working with another generation who questions their own future role in the business or is the farmer wondering about his or her current role?

Research has shown that more than 80 percent of farm families hope to pass the family farm to the next generation, but only 30 percent of the farms survive to the second generation with only 12 percent surviving to the third generation.

According to John Berry, Extension business management educator, the many tools and resources provided by the program will give participants an opportunity in opening communication lines within the family to begin a plan toward a shared vision of the business.

“The program will prepare attendees to envision, communicate, plan, write and shape the legacy of their family farm business, as well as saving themselves hundreds of dollars by completing these crucial steps before visiting with professionals,” said Berry.

Programming will be structured in five modules during the two-day workshop. The detailed and dynamic modules will include “Starting Your Succession Plan,” “Determining What You Want,” “The Next Generation and Your Legacy,” “Family Meetings and Conversations,” and “Choosing and Working with Professionals.”

Berry also stated that attendees also will learn how to choose and work with professionals such as attorneys, accountants, lenders, insurance agents and tax experts in constructing a plan and documents that move the family’s vision into action.

The workshop will include breakfast and lunch along with materials to accomplish the planning process.

For more information on the “What’s Your Exit Strategy” program, contact John Berry at 610-391-9840 or at or visit the Penn State Extension website at

The Pennsylvania State University encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Don Woodring at 570-726-0022 in advance of your participation or visit.