St. Paul, MN: Farmers and agricultural landowners looking for assistance in creating succession plans for their properties have a new support available through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA).

The MDA has hired Jim Molenaar as its farmland access and succession teams coordinator. In this newly created role, Molenaar will advocate for and guide farmers and ag landowners through the succession process, bringing in additional outside team members that are necessary for success. These team members could include, but are not limited to, legal experts, accountants, and farm business management (FBM) instructors. There is no cost for this service for those who participate.

“I’m thrilled to partner with the MDA to provide this support to Minnesota’s farmers and producers,” said Molenaar. “The transfer of farmland to the next generation is integral to the future of agriculture in Minnesota, and I look forward to leveraging my experiences to help farmers and their families successfully transition their legacies.”

Molenaar is an experienced and trusted advisor on the topic of succession and farm ownership. In addition to his new role, he works as a Farm Advocate for the MDA, where he offers one-on-one assistance for Minnesota farmers who face crisis caused by either a natural disaster or financial problems. He is also a retired instructor for the FBM program.

According to USDA, the average age of Minnesota farmers has reached an all-time high of 57.4 years. This new position is just one tool the MDA provides to help transfer ag land and operations to beginning and emerging farmers, ensuring the continued strength and resilience of the state’s agricultural economy. Its FarmLink program brings together those who are looking for ag land, farming operations, or mentors with retiring farmers and landowners who want to see their farms or farming operations continue. The agency also offers the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit and the Down Payment Assistant Grant programs.

Molenaar’s contact information, as well as further details about the MDA’s other land access and succession tools, can be found on the agency’s website.

The farmland access and succession teams coordinator position is made possible with support from the Southern Agricultural Center of Excellence.