Farm Succession and Retirement: Some International Comparisons


  • Matt Lobley University of Exeter
  • John R. Baker Iowa State University
  • Ian Whitehead University of Plymouth



Farm Transfers, Intergenerational Succession, Retirement, Retirement Age, Successor Effect, Succession Ladder


The increasing age of farmers and the reluctance to transfer management from the owning generation to the successor generation has been well documented by several studies. In this article we review the literature relating to the succession of farm businesses. Drawing on data from the international FARMTRANSFERS project, we explore attitudes toward retirement and also rates and patterns of succession in several contrasting countries and states in the United States. Lastly, we discuss the implications of the research and provide recommendations for public policies that would enhance the opportunities for successors to succeed in the continuation of the farm family business.


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Author Biographies

Matt Lobley, University of Exeter

Centre for Rural Policy Research, Department of Politics, University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter, UK EX4 4RJ.

John R. Baker, Iowa State University

Beginning Farmer Center, Iowa State University, 10861 Douglas Avenue, Suite B, Urbandale, Iowa, 50167

Ian Whitehead, University of Plymouth

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, UK. PL4 8AA; +44 (0)1752 585913



How to Cite

Lobley, M., Baker, J. R., & Whitehead, I. (2010). Farm Succession and Retirement: Some International Comparisons. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 1(1), 49–64.



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