By KEVIN WALKER
LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) will host its annual estate and succession planning conference next month, as well as its annual Lansing Legislative Seminar.
The Take Root Conference, scheduled for Feb. 26 at Lansing’s Crown Plaza West hotel, is designed to offer comprehensive help in navigating the transition of a family farm business from one generation to the next. This year professional speaker, author and family business consultant Jolene Brown will be on hand, as she was last year for the first Take Root.
Johnson is also a farmer. This year she’ll conduct an interactive workshop in the morning and moderate a professional panel discussion in the afternoon. According to conference promoters, attendees will leave with strategies to grow their business and secure farm assets for future generations.
“This is our second time holding the Take Root Conference. We had it two years ago and it went very well,” said Tyler Ernst, an MFB staff attorney. “It’s about estate and succession planning for members and non-members. It’s really for anybody who’s interested in what estate planning and succession planning are all about.
“How do you decide who’s going to get what portion of the farm? Is it okay to treat kids on the farm different from kids who aren’t on the farm? Questions like that. We don’t pitch this event as a substitute for getting good legal advice, but we do hope that it will help people ask intelligent questions and maybe save them some time.”
The deadline to register for this event is Feb. 12. Prices are $110 for a single MFB member ticket, $150 for a single non-member and the price for an MFB member couple ticket is $85 or $100 for non-members. A discount of $20 is available for those who attend both the Take Root Conference and Lansing Legislative Seminar.
The Lansing Legislative Seminar will take place the following day and event promoters hope people will want to go to both. “The primary purpose of the LLS is it’s our members’ first opportunity to deliver their message to the legislative and executive branch of Michigan government,” said Matt Smego, manager of MFB’s government relations department.
The event will kick off with a tour of the State Capitol, coordinated with Capitol staff. On hand will be Matt Rush, a New Mexico farmer and cattle rancher. He’ll speak on the importance of a viable political action committee, or PAC.
Al Almy, a long-serving MFB staff member who served as AgriPAC’s secretary from 1978-2005, will share why and how MFB’s AgriPAC was founded and highlight how it ultimately helps implement Farm Bureau policy.
According to Smego, there will be sessions that provide background on policy areas, including taxes, in particular, sales and use tax collections, and water use issues. The southwestern portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula has had some problems in recent years with water use on the farm.
Smego said Michigan’s AgriPAC has a busy year ahead, with elections upcoming for governor as well as a majority of the state Senate and more than the usual number of state House seats. Since 2010 a number of farmers have been elected to the House and MFB would like to see more.
The Lansing Legislative Seminar will be held at the Lansing Center, about 10 minutes from Crown Plaza West. The fee to attend the event is $40. To get more details about these two events, including how to register, go to www.michfb.com