NEWTON -- Passing a farm to the next generation can be a difficult task, whether the children have moved on to careers of their own, or farmers are looking for the best way to change ownership.

Kansas State University Research and Extension offices from Harvey, McPherson and Marion counties teamed up to host the Farming SUCCESSion Conference Tuesday to help area farmers plan for such an event. The event took place at the Meridian Center in Newton.

“Being in the ag world, we hear all the stories about what to do with land or the farm when a parent dies,” Harvey County Agriculture Extension Agent Ryan Flaming said. “Sometimes children inherit land from out of state and don’t know what to do with it, or you hear about the family fights.”

McPherson County Extension hosted a similar event five years ago, but the counties decided it was a good topic to touch on again.

“Harvey, Marion and McPherson -- we work together a lot,” Flaming said. “We put our heads together and decided this was a good topic to hit again.”

Some succession plans are basically ‘I’m going to continue to farm as long as I can, then drop dead, and after that, I don’t care.' And that is a succession plan.

The conglomerate brought in Roger McEowen, Kansas Farm Bureau professor of agricultural law and taxation at Washburn University School of Law, to give a keynote address on succession planning and practical actions to keep the farm or ranch in the family.

Flaming said McEowen is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to strategic planning for succession.

“Some succession plans are basically ‘I’m going to continue to farm as long as I can, then drop dead, and after that, I don’t care,’” McEowen said. “And that is a succession plan.”

For anyone wanting a more dynamic plan, McEowen provided information on structuring the farm as a business -- whether to be an LLC, joint venture, mutual partnership or something else -- as well as protecting assets.

Following McEowen’s speech, attendees participated in several breakout sessions, which dove deeper into specific areas of farming succession.

Chance Hoener’s agriculture roots started on farms and ranches in Southeast Kansas. Now he covers Kansas agriculture as the Kansas Agland editor. Email him with news, photos and other information at or by calling (620) 694-5700, ext. 320.