The "graying tsunami" in rural America means that more farmers are being forced to decide what happens to their farm once they retire or die. If they decide not to sell the business, the farmer must decide how to divide up the operation among the remaining relatives, many of whom are not farmers.

The process is further complicated because most farmers reinvest any profits back into the operation, leaving much of their personal wealth tied up in the business through equipment and increasingly valuable land. If one relative decides they want to sell his or her position, it can be difficult for the primary farm operator whose assets are tied up in the operation to get enough funding to buy them out, potentially threatening the financial health of the business.

As the number of U.S. farmers declines, the age of those still toiling in the field continues to climb.

For more, see: As farmers age, planning for the future of their business grows


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