Farmers looking toward the futures of their family businesses can begin to develop succession plans at Purdue Extension's Farming Together Workshop on Jan. 27-28 in West Lafayette.

The workshop will focus on developing adult children, employees or other interested individuals into the future owners and managers of a farming operation. It will take place in Room 314 of the Stewart Center, 128 Memorial Mall, on Purdue's main campus.

"This is an excellent program for farm families who are interested in adding a family member to the family farm business or developing a plan for transferring the family farm to the next generation," said Alan Miller, Purdue Extension farm business management specialist.

Participants will have the opportunity to interact with Purdue Extension specialists and professors from the Department of Agricultural Economics. Their session topics are:

* "Effective communication in the Family Business" by Janet Ayres.

* "Developing a Shared Vision for the Future" by Maria Marshall.

* "Developing a Management Succession Plan" by Angela Gloy.

* "Being in Business Together - Assessing Your Resources" by Nicole Olynk.

* "Different Ways to Share Ownership and Management" by Miller.

* "Organizational Structure and Job Descriptions" by Craig Dobbins.

Each session involves brief presentations followed by work sessions, when the participants separate into family/business groups and work together on structured planning activities to start laying the groundwork for their future business arrangements.

"For that reason, it is important that all the key players in the planned transition from each business be present to participate in the planning process," Miller said.

Also included will be a legal question-and-answer session with Purdue Extension agricultural economist Gerry Harrison, followed by a peer interview of farm family businesses.

For the "Assessing Your Resources" session, Olynk will work with case study farms to illustrate the key resource issues involved in successfully transitioning additional individuals into the farm business. However, workshop participants can submit their own financial information and receive confidential financial analyses for their farm businesses. Those interested need to submit financial data in advance.

Participants also are asked to submit questions in advance for the legal Q&A session.

Both financial data and legal question submission forms are available on the conference website at  

Registration is $120 per farm by Jan. 14. After that, registration is $150 per farm. A brochure and registration form are available at the Web address listed above.