An upcoming workshop at the Crossfield Community Hall is geared towards helping area farmers better plan for the succession of their land, business and equity to their children. The Farm Transition Workshop, which will be held March 7, is a joint seminar involving Rocky View County, Mountain View County, Wheatland County and the Agricultural Financial Services Corporation. Speakers will include succession and estate planner Merle Good and lawyer Tracy Hanson, who specializes in corporate, commercial and tax law, as well as business succession, estate planning and estate administration. “What we’re focusing on this year is trying to look at some unique strategies whereby parents can actually transfer some of their equity while they’re alive, but still control it,” said Good, an agricultural financial consultant who was previously a provincial tax specialist for the Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Agriculture. “What I mean by that is looking at a family farm and providing a clear path to ownership for the second generation. But [at the same time], you have to provide long-term asset security for the parents.” Good said his talk will focus on what he calls the “four Ds” that can complicate succession planning for farmers – divorce, disposition, death and debt. “Those four Ds are probably the reasons why most parents don’t do anything during their lifetime – they’re scared of the consequences,” Good said. “[We will] try to come back and say, ‘How can we actually get around those four Ds, but provide clarity to both generations of what we’re trying to accomplish?’” Good added a fifth D – dementia – will also be discussed, looking at how it can factor into succession planning. Another focus of the talk, according to Good, will be how farmers can use their Capital Gains Deductions while they’re still alive, taking advantage of certain income tax regulations at the federal level. “Effectively, I can show where parents can, in a family-farm situation, retire on an 11 or 12 per cent tax rate,” he said. “Which is huge, if we use the proper strategies.” Considering most farmers in Central Alberta succeed their land to non-farming children, Good said, his presentation will also delve into addressing land issues when writing wills. “What per cent of farmers in Central Alberta, in their current will, are leaving land to non-farming children? Some people guess 70 per cent or 80 [per cent], but in my view, it’s almost 90,” he said. “It’s high because of the huge values of land. I can’t leave $9 million of land to one child and then leave $500,000 cash in life insurance to the other three. That’s the big issue parents are wrestling with.” The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $50 to attend. Registration can be done online at Eventbrite.ca, by emailing email@example.com or by calling 403-335-3311 (ext. 204). The deadline to register is March 1.