Juniper Hill Farm in Westport, NY
Image by Katie Kearney

Plan for the future of your farm, Juniper Hill Farm

Succession and Business Planning Support for Farmers and Farmland Owners

APPLY for a $1000 stipend to get the ball rolling on your succession, estate, and business plan!

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County connects farmers and farmland owners with various opportunities for one-on-one support to plan for the future of your farm and family. No matter where you are in the process, CCE Essex can link you with providers to ensure your plan is complete, up-to-date, and effective.

Planning is imperative for farm viability and farmland preservation in the long-term. We understand that succession, estate, and business planning is complicated, time-consuming, emotional, and expensive. Often, we don’t even know where to start. To create solid plans, you often need to work with various service providers, including accountants, financial and estate planners, attorneys, appraisers, surveyors and more. To help you get the ball rolling, we can provide you with a $1000 stipend to work with a service provider of your choice.

Why Plan?

No matter your age or number of years farming, life happens, and a plan ensures that you, your family, your farm, and your business assets are protected financially and legally. To start, ask yourself:

☼ Do you want your land to remain in farming or forestry?

☼ How do you ensure financial security for your family?

☼ Do you have legal documents in place to ensure your wishes will be realized upon death?

☼ Do you have a financial plan for profitability in your farming business?

Where do I start?

We recommend first reading through some of our favorite resources to get a good idea of the road ahead in the planning process.

Make sure to read the series of articles we've put together that explain the process of succession planning and what you need to know, published by the Sun Community News.

The American Farmland Trust 'Your Land is Your Legacy: A Guide to Planning the Future of Your Farm' is an excellent how-to for succession planning.

For business plans, a great place to start is Cornell Small Farm’s Business Plan resource hub

Who is eligible for the stipend?

  • Farmers in Essex County, NY.
  • Farmland owners in Essex County, NY, who would like support in passing their farmland to the next generation.

How does this stipend work?

Step 1:

Reach out to Elizabeth Lee at CCE Essex at Tell us a bit about your farm or farmland and your goals for the project and we will verify eligibility.

Step 2:

Before working with a paid service provider to use the stipend, we will first connect you with FarmNET, a free service offering one-on-one work with both a financial expert and a professional social worker, who work as a team to best inform complex planning issues. If you have already worked with FarmNET, we still ask that you work with them on the specific task you are addressing with this project. We also recommend working with NY Agricultural Mediation, a free service that can help facilitate communication and goal-setting within families, farm owners, etc.

Step 3:

FarmNET and CCE Essex will link you with service providers who have experience in farmland issues. You can use the funds with any service provider of your choice (see examples below). For your reference, we have compiled a listing of service providers who have experience in agriculture or farmland issues. We ask that you first let us know who you plan to work with and provide a brief description of your project for prior approval.

Step 4:

You contact the service provider of your choice and set up your appointment. After your consultation or upon completion of your project. have the service provider invoice CCE Essex for up to $1000 in fees towards the completion of your goals. (Fees above $1000 are your responsibility.)

Step 5:

We ask that you take a few moments to share feedback with us following your appointment via a survey we will provide.

Note: Each farm is eligible for a maximum of $1000 per stipend. Funding is first-come-first-served. Eligibility for funding is at the discretion of CCE Essex. The funding for this project will be dispersed in three phases. Applicants who have already received funding may apply again in the following phases if funding is still available. Thus, a farm may apply for up to $3000 total over the project timeframe (April 2023-September 2024). 

Phase 1 ends: September 30, 2023. Phase 2 ends: March 31, 2024. Phase 3 ends: September 1, 2024.

Examples of service providers and eligible projects:

  • Attorney: complete a will, power of attorney, living will, and trust to pass farmland on to the next generation; legal support in business structure.
  • Accountant: succession and estate planning; develop the financial piece of a business plan.
  • Appraiser: determine your farmland value for a conservation easement or estate plan.
  • Surveyor: determine farmland boundaries for succession planning or conservation easement purposes.
  • Finance or business consultant: develop a business plan in order to apply for a loan for a new investment in your business.

This is material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2021‐70027‐34693.



Last updated March 14, 2024