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Department of Agricultural Economics

Office Farm and Ranch Transition created

Ashlee Westerhold

The agricultural economics department was awarded a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to establish the Office for Farm and Ranch Transition. As part of the more than $745,000 grant project and funding from K-State Research and Extension, the department hired Ashlee Westerhold as director for the office. 

"We are excited to be launching much-needed services for farm transition out of the K-State ag economics department and delighted to bring Ashlee Westerhold onboard as an enthusiastic and skilled professional to lead this initiative," said Robin Reid, K-State Extension farm economist. 

AgKansitionsThe Office for Farm and Ranch Transition will be known as AgKansitions, and will provide critical services for beginning farmers/ranchers in Kansas.

"As the average age of farm operators in Kansas continues to increase, we know many farm families will be looking to transition their operations in the near future, either to the next generation or to unrelated younger producers," Reid said. "We are excited for our department to be able to provide education and services specifically for transitioning farms and ranches and to assist beginning farmers and ranchers in being successful operators."

The Office of Farm and Ranch Transition provides three main services:

  1. Land-link program to introduce exiting landowners with beginning farmers/ranchers through an application and curated matching process.
  2. One-on-one consultations to facilitate transition of an existing farm/ranch operation.
  3. Extensive training program for beginning farmers/ranchers to master critical financial and business skills.

"The overall goal of this project is to equip beginning farmers/ranchers to be successful farm managers and provide resources and technical services that will enable opportunities for land access," said Allen Featherstone, agricultural economics department head. "The land-link program will bring farm families together through the matching process, they will receive one-on-one technical assistance in developing their transition plans, and general education conferences on farm transition will increase farm financial knowledge and business skills."

Partnering agencies for the office include Kansas Department of Agriculture, Kansas Bankers Association, Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas Farm Service Agency, Kansas Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Kansas Grazing Land Coalition.

Westerhold earned a Bachelor of Science in agricultural economics and a Master of Science in agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Westerhold served as an area extension educator in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology for University of Idaho where she created, delivered, and collaborated on major risk management programs including Farm and Ranch Succession Planning, Farm and Ranch Management, Women in Agriculture, Farm Business Benchmarking, and Agricultural Outlooks. At the University of Idaho, she has obtained more than $300,000 from five funded grants to support her research and extension efforts. She has led more than 60 workshops and presentations, produced 40 video webinars and authored 18 extension publications. Westerhold has always been passionate about succession planning because of her advisor, Dr. Ronald J. Hanson, at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her main objective is to keep family farms and ranches in farming and ranching.

If you or your clients are interested in meeting with Ashlee for any of the above objectives, please do not hesitate to reach out by calling her at (785) 532-4526 or email her at ashleecw@ksu.edu.  We are now taking applications into the Land Link program and scheduling one-on-one consultations.