Farm transition planning can be a sensitive subject for farming families, even as it’s necessary for every successful operation. But what happens when a farm doesn’t have a built-in successor? A whopping 47% of family business owners expecting to retire between now and 2028 do not have a successor. When children of the farm pursue careers outside of agriculture, what options remain to keep the farm going?

For one Iowa row-crop and hog operation, the answer lies with ambitious young farmers looking to get started. The Hoksbergens feel strongly about transitioning their beloved land into the hands of young blood. After an appraisal, the couple listed their farm for sale and quickly learned that financing remains the biggest hurdle for every young farmer. Eventually, the Hoksbergens found a local farming family who fit the bill they were looking for – and qualified for the USDA’s Beginning Farmer loan program. Walking together through the process, the farming couple and the young farming brothers found the right fit.

But the Hoksbergens’ situation is unique, just like every farm story. Beginning farmers should be informed of loan opportunities from their local FSA office, and every farming family needs to have serious conversations on their own transition plan.

Read more on farm transition and succession planning here.