COLUMBUS, Ohio — As farmers age, succession planning may become top of mind.

What You Need To Know

  • According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average age of a U.S. farmer is about 58 years old
  • The USDA said only 9% of farmers are younger than the age 35
  • Each week, Spectrum News 1 anchor Chuck Ringwalt and agriculture expert Andy Vance discuss an aspect of the state's agricultural landscape

"Just like any family business, because most of our farms are just that, they're family enterprises, the question becomes what happens when the current generation of owners [and] leaders decide it's time to retire and ride off into the sunset, so to speak," agriculture expert Andy Vance said.

Rudi Pitzer Perry is the Regional Vice President of Ag Lending for Farm Credit Mid-America. She works with farmers to find a successor and how to best carry on their legacy.

"Do it before anything were to happen because if children or successors don't find out the plan until after somebody passes, it's already a stressful situation, and that makes it worse, so make sure everybody knows in the front end what the plan is. Clear communication is the key to all of that," she said.

Pitzer Perry said to include your lender, attorney, accountant, insurance agent and more in these conversations.

The USDA also offers guidance on estate planning.

If you have an idea for the Ag Report, a question for Chuck and Andy or you'd like to send a photo of your farm and the work you do, send an email to You can also follow Chuck on Facebook.