Saturday Session I
Transitioning a farm to an unrelated successor can create a golden opportunity for both an aspiring farmer and a farmer who wants to retire and ensure the land stays in farming. Hear about two farms that are successfully navigating non-kin farm transfers, and learn from their experience.
Mary Fund is the executive director for the Kansas Rural Center. She serves as chair of the Organic Farming Research Foundation Board of Directors. She owns and operates a 400-acre certified organic crop and livestock farm with her husband.
Dave Welsch grew up on a diversified conventional farm, and rented his first farm in 1978. In 1980 he married Deb, and in 1990 they began direct-marketing chickens, beef, lamb and later on added pork. Their cropland became certified organic in 1993 and eventually grew to 800 acres of owned and rented land. They are in the process or transferring their land to a new generation of farmers.
Mary Gelder is an environmental health specialist with an MPH in environmental health sciences. She helped Illinois farmer Wyatt Muse access farmland—she used an IRA to purchase farmland, with a lease arrangement established to transfer the land to him.
Wyatt Muse is a fourth-generation farmer from central Illinois, and a first-generation organic farmer. He produces food-grade grains. Through a purchase agreement with Mary Gelder, he is transitioning into land ownership.