Planning the Future of Your Farmland

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March 14, 2018
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Planning the Future of Your Farmland





Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is pleased to announce a Farm Transition and Estate Planning Workshop with attorney Andrew Branan. This FREE workshop will occur on March 22nd at the F.A.R.M. Cafe, beginning at 5:30 PM.


This workshop will be geared towards landowners interested in learning more about retaining their land in agricultural production through a Farm Transition & Estate Planning process.


Andrew Branan, now with NC State University, has spent his legal career providing business and estate planning support to farmers and landowners intent on keeping their farms, forests, and other natural resource concerns growing and productive as they pass to the next generation. He’s worked for the American Farmland Trust and been the Director of The North Carolina Farm Transition Network. Branan has also authored several workbooks for landowners and support professionals on this topic.


As Branan says, “The process of planning the orderly distribution of family land is indeed a challenge. If your goal is to keep the land in a designated use, the challenge is greater. Planning a future for your farm and land requires communicating your goals, gathering information, and understanding risk and how to manage it. The planning process also requires the help of professional advisers.”


“Part of my role as lawyer in working with private clients is that of a trainer, responsible for ensuring the client and their family really understand their planning architecture and can navigate the ongoing process of estate transfer,” Branan says. 


Suzanna Denison is the director of the WNC FarmLink program. In partnership with NC FarmLink, WNC FarmLink maintains databases of both available farmland and farmers looking for land and works with landowners and farmers to ensure an appropriate and lasting match is made. Suzanna grew up on a large-scale conventional vegetable farm in Maine, which transitioned to organic in the mid-1990s. She is passionate about farmland preservation and farm succession planning in order to ensure that agriculture continues to grow and thrive in our region.



Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture decided to invite Branan and Denison for this workshop after being approached by several established farmers, who are interested in learning more about how to transition their farmland in a way that retains its agricultural productivity and serves as capital for their retirement.


Dave Walker, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s Programs Director, says,“The average age of a farmer in Watauga County is around 60 years old, which is older than the average age of a farmer a decade ago. Our region needs an influx of new farming entrepreneurs in order to sustain and grow our regional production, retain our rural communities. Local food systems are integral elements of strong, diversified local economies. They support the health of our communities, protect our streams, and preserve our rural cultural identity. This is why we are dedicated to supporting opportunities that connect established farmers with resources that make them and the next generation of farmers successful.”


This workshop is a part of Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s efforts to provide educational resources for farmers and landowners. The workshop complements Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s CRAFT program, which cultivates meaningful mentor relationships between aspiring and experienced farmers in the High Country.


CRAFT stands for Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training. The program connects aspiring farmers with experienced farmers, encourages innovative on-farm educational and professional experiences, and provides tools to established farmers that will enhance their mentorship abilities. The program does this through an Apprenticeship Opportunities webpage, summer on-farm peer-to-peer workshops for aspiring and established farmers, and winter farmer-driven gatherings.


Workshop Details

Location: F.A.R.M. Cafe, 617 W King St, Boone, NC 28607

Cost: FREE

Date: March 22nd, 2018

Time: 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM



Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is dedicated to strengthening the High Country’s local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture. We do this by providing opportunities for women farmers to share knowledge, hosting a Farm Tour, providing opportunities for consumers to learn about self-sufficiency and connecting everyone to our local agricultural heritage and landscape. Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture currently serves:Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Mitchell, Wilkes, Watauga, and Yancey Counties in North Carolina as well as Johnson County, Tennessee.


For more information about this workshop, please contact Dave Walker at [email protected]