This was the big question we talked about at the Sangamon Aquifer Celebration in Decatur last week. It’s actually a question I hear a lot at public events. People are well aware that the average age of farmers is headed upward, and they’re deeply concerned about what will happen to to farmland once the current generation retires or dies. It’s one of the topics we’ll discuss at our January seminar, Transitioning to Organic Grains. To address that question, the organizers invited poet Mary Swander to present her play, Map of My Kingdom, which tells multiple stories of farmland succession.
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It’s an entertaining and engaging play, based on real stories of farm families struggling with the complexities of succession. Some of the stories are funny, others heartbreaking, but all of them stuck a chord with the audience. From the discussion afterwards, it was clear that the audience was very familiar with these kinds of situations from their own experiences.
The difficulty of transferring farmland from one generation to the next is an enormously important issue to us at The Land Connection. In fact it has been at the core of our work since the beginning. If this is an important issue to you, we encourage you to attend our Legal Issues for Farm Business Workshop in February, where we’ll discuss this topic in some detail with Rachel Armstrong from Farm Commons. Hope to see you there!