Farm Transition Planning

The Office of Farmland Preservation published a workbook (available in English and Spanish) for families who want to keep their farmland in production or as it passes to the next generation. Topics covered in the workbook include developing your vision, evaluating farm resources, understanding farm transfer tools, and preparing to meet with professional advisers. Click on the Workbook image below to view and download a full PDF version. To request a hard copy, send an email with your address to:

The resources and information provided by the Washington State Conservation Commission are informational only and should not be interpreted as legal or financial advice. Seek professional assistance from qualified advisors.

Planning for the Future of Your Farm Workbook
Planning the Future of Your Farm: A Workbook Supporting Farm Transfer Decisions
Spanish Planning for the Future of Your Farm Workbook
Disponible en Español - Planificando el futuro de su propiedad agrícola: A libro de trabajo para apoyar decisiones de transferencia de terrenos dedicados a cultivo especializados

Planning for the Future of Your Farm Webinars

This two-part series originally presented online on Feb. 23 and Mar. 9, 2022, by the Thurston Conservation District:

  • Find a recording of Part 1 here.
  • Find a recording of Part 2 here.
  • Find all additional handout resources, including presentation slides, here.

Hosted by Underwood Conservation District, this succession planning webinar was presented live on Mar. 24, 2022:  

More Planning Resources

Resources for New Farm Businesses - The United States Department of Agriculture's New Farmers website has many resources to help new farmers begin their farming journey.

Business Plan - Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses in English and Spanish.

Business Arrangements - Examining Your Farm Business Choices.

Operating Agreement - Farm Business Operating Agreements are used when both parties contribute labor and management, invest capital, and share the income generated from the farm business.

Determining Your Rental Rate - Computing a Cropland Cash Rental Rate explains how to determine what to charge for renting cropland, and illustrates examples for calculating rental rates.

Agricultural Credit - The Farmers Guide to Agricultural Credit provides answers to questions about agricultural credit and financing.

Farm Succession Checklist - The Farm Succession Checklist includes a list of questions that should be considered when engaging in the farm succession process.

Transition Planning Fact Sheet - Conducting Successful Family Business Transition Meetings outlines considerations when discussing transition planning with family members and includes a sample agenda.

Farm to Farmer - is a full service program of Washington Farmland Trust that aims to provide land access to a new generation of farmers. They help farmers find the land opportunities they need to grow their businesses, and help landowners sell or lease their land to keep it in farming. 

 Farm to Farmer offers personalized technical assistance to current and aspiring farmers, farming and non-farming landowners, real estate agents, and organizations looking to expand their incubator or ag park programs. In addition to land matching services, they help program participants clarify goals, identify barriers, understand financing options, develop or navigate leasing agreements, complete property due diligence, connect with service providers, and more.

Methow Grown - The Methow Conservancy, based in the Methow Valley provides assistance to farmland seekers, whether they are established farmers in the region or beginners looking to set down roots in a supportive, welcoming agricultural community.  They aim to connect farmers to landowners who have offered to make their land available to farmers. Farmland owners in the Methow are encouraged to reach out and let them know about opportunities they may have for farmers to work their land.

South Sound FarmLink - South Sound FarmLink is a regional program of the Thurston Conservation District (TCD) that offers land matching services in order to aid in farmland accessibility, preservation, and successional planning. Both land-seeking farmers and landowners who wish to list their land can register with the program. Thurston CD staff assist in making matches, sharing resources and tools such as lease templates, and connecting landowners and farmers with TCD’s technical staff and programs.

Rental Agreement - The Farm Rental Agreement Checklist provides information for tenants and landlords on what should be included in a farm rental agreement.

Lease Agreement Guide - A Lease Agreements Guide for Landowners and Farmers includes easy-to-understand steps and considerations for both parties in lease agreements.

Leasing - The Farmland Access Legal Toolkit from the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems has several tools related to designing a lease.

Advance Medical DirectivesManaging Prosperity: Estate Planning for All Ages: Advance Medical Directives outlines advance medical directives also known as “living wills”.

Trusts - Managing Prosperity: Estate and Retirement Planning for All Ages: An Introduction to Trusts provides an overview of trusts.

Spousal Rights - Managing Prosperity: Estate and Retirement Planning for All Ages: Love, Marriage and Divorce provides an overview of the rights of spouses in property upon divorce, and how to take the possibility of divorce into consideration when developing a farm transition strategy.

Probate - Managing Prosperity: Estate and Retirement Planning for All Ages: Probate and the Probate Process provides an overview of the probate process used to settle the estate of those who have died, both with or without a will.

Rights of Surviving Spouses and Children - Managing Prosperity: Estate and Retirement Planning for All Ages: Rights of Surviving Spouses and Children outlines the rights that surviving spouses and children have in Virginia when they perceive that the deceased failed to adequately provide for them.

Long-Term Health Care - Managing Prosperity: Estate and Retirement Planning for All Ages: Planning for Long-Term Health Care covers planning for long-term health care, including Medicaid eligibility, exemption and disqualification; and long-term care insurance.

Powers of Attorney - Managing Prosperity: Estate and Retirement Planning for All Ages: Powers of Attorney examines the importance of establishing power of attorney as part of any estate planning effort.

Financial Planners - Managing Prosperity: Estate and Retirement Planning for All Ages: Building Your Financial Team provides guidance on creating a team of experts to support decision-making.

Ownership Structures - Ownership Structures for Your Farm or Ranch: Some Basic Considerations describes the various ownership structures used to manage a farm business operation.

Risk Management - The Risk Management Checklist provides information to farmers to help them evaluation their exposure to risk.