Cultivating Connections: A Conference for Farm Transition Planners

The Cultivating Connections Conference is an annual event for farm transition planners - those professionals dedicated to enabling the transition of agricultural operations from one generation to the next. This conference is a forum for learning and discussing the latest laws, strategies, tools, and insights necessary for effective farm transition planning. It brings together a diverse range of professionals -- attorneys, accountants, educators, and financial advisors -- who share a common goal: to preserve the legacy and sustainability of family farms for future generations. 

At the heart of the conference is a focus on building strong, collaborative relationships among farm transition professionals. Conference sessions aim to impart knowledge, foster dialogue, and build a supportive community. Attendees can connect with peers and share issues, insights, and experiences. Networking and educational opportunities continue beyond the conference and throughout the year with the Association of Farm Transition Planners formed after the inaugural conference. 

Monday, August 5, 2024
Registration & Welcome Breakfast (full breakfast provided)
Peggy Kirk Hall, Director, Ohio State University Agricultural & Resource Law Program
Haider Ala Hamoudi, Dean, University of Cincinnati College of Law
Managing the Farm Transition Process: A Case Study
Robert Moore, Attorney, Ohio State University Agricultural & Resource Program
Strategies for Working with Farm Families to Build Transition Plans
David Marrison, Professor & Farm Management Specialist, Ohio State University Extension
Organizing the Family with the FARMS Spreadsheet
Kelly Moore, Attorney, Make Hay Consulting LLC, Deleware, Ohio
Deep Dive into Rural Appraisals 
Tim Harpster, Accredited Rural Appraiser & President, Consolidated Appraisal Services Company, Wapakoneta, Ohio
Understanding Business Entity Discounts
Dr. Peter Woodlock, Professor, Lariccia School of Accounting & Finance, Youngstown State University
Lunch Break (lunch provided)
Tax Considerations for the Transition Plan
David Malson, Attorney, Barnes & Thornburg, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Prenuptial Agreements, Domestic Law & the Farm Transition Plan
Susan McDonald, Attorney, Gottlieb, Johnston, Beam, Dal Ponte PLL, Zanesville, Ohio
Replenishing Rural Practice
Jesse Richardson, Moderator
Wrap-Up of Day 1 & Social Reception in the Law School Atrium
Tuesday, August 6, 2024
Welcome to Day 2 (breakfast on your own)
Implementing the Estate Plan
Robert Moore, Moderator
The Estate Tax Return
Kristine Tidgren, Attorney, Director, Iowa State Center for Agricultural Law & Taxation, Ames, Iowa
Steve Kacerski, CPA, Kacerski Tax & Business Services LLC, Youngstown, Ohio
Kelly Moore, Attorney, Make Hay Consulting LLC
Ethical issues in Farm Transition Planning
Jesse Richardson, Professor, West Virginia University College of Law
Conference Wrap-Up & Conclusion


Continuing Education: 
Continuing Legal Education Credits:
Credits are pending approval in Ohio and Iowa. 
Office of Professional Responsibility, IRS:
Credits are pending approval from the Office of Professional Responsibility. 
General Continuing Professional Education Credits:
The Accountancy Board of Ohio and the Iowa Accountancy Examining Board do not pre-approve CPE events, but it is left to the individual to determine the appropriate course of study. 
Other States and Professions:
Consult your state's accrediting agency/board for its rules on admissibility of this course. It is the responsibility of the attendee to understand and comply with state licensing requirements, but we will assist with any necessary supporting documentation. Contact Jeff Lewis ( for any inquiries.    
Johnathon (Johnny) Cottingim joined Wright & Moore Co. LPA as a full-time attorney in August of 2023, where he helps clients craft succession plans for their farms. He grew up on his family’s beef farm in Preble County, Ohio and continues to raise cattle there with his father and brother. Johnny graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.S. in Agribusiness and Applied Economics in 2020 and received his law degree from the University of Kentucky in 2023. Newly married, Johnny and his wife Meredith look forward to returning to Preble County in a few years to continue serving their rural community and operating the family farm.
G. Eli Earich is an Associate Attorney with Barrett Easterday Cunningham and Eselgroth in Dublin, Ohio.  He grew up in Pickaway County, Ohio as a fifth-generation cattle producer and is still heavily involved in his family’s Angus cow/calf operation.  Eli graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2016 with a B.S. in Agricultural Economics and worked as a commodity merchandiser for Archer Daniels Midland in Des Moines, IA. In 2021, he earned his Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio.  As a law student, Eli served as a research fellow for the National Agricultural Law Center and a Public Policy Law Clerk for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Timothy L. Harpster is President of Consolidated Appraisal Services Company in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Tim holds the Accredited Rural Appraiser (ARA) designation awarded by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA).  His appraisal education includes courses and seminars sponsored by AI, ASFMRA, conservation easement appraising, yellow book, and eminent domain appraisal classes from ODOT. He has completed appraisals ranging from simple single-family residential properties to complex eminent domain takings, including industrial and commercial properties, unimproved farm properties, and specialized livestock facilities.  Tim is a graduate of The Ohio State University.
Steve Kacerski is the owner of Kacerski Tax & Business Services LLC, a tax and consulting firm in Hartford, Ohio. Steve is a CPA and has worked in the tax and accounting industry for 26 years.  He has extensive experience working with family owned and closely held businesses across many industries including agriculture, real estate and manufacturing. Steve is member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Ohio Farm Bureau, and is a Board member, Public Policy Chair and Treasurer with the Trumbull County Farm Bureau. He manages an 1,150-acre grain farm with his dad in Hartford, Ohio, raising corn, soybeans, wheat, and industrial hemp.
David Malson is a Partner with Barnes and Thornburg in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He has more than 34 years of experience in estate planning for high net worth clients and companies involved in manufacturing, retail, real estate development, the service industry, technology, and international sales.  He helps business owners develop effective plans to transfer ownership interests, counsels clients on succession planning options, and works closely with business owners on tax planning, including estate taxes, gift taxes, income taxes and capital gains taxes.  David graduated from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and Thomas Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan, where he was a member of the law review. 
David Marrison is a Professor and Field Specialist in Farm Management at The Ohio State University and also serves as Interim Director for the Farm Financial Management & Policy Institute in OSU’s College of Food, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. David has over 25 years of experience in research, teaching, and working with farm families, with an emphasis on farm management and farm transition planning.  David earned his B.S. in Agricultural Education and Agricultural Economics from Ohio State University and his M.S. in Agricultural Education from Purdue University.
Susan McDonald has been with Gottlieb, Johnston, Beam, Dal Ponte PLL since 2003 and became the firm’s managing partner in 2016.  Susan is an OSBA Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law and serves clients in the areas of agricultural law, domestic law, and estate planning. Prior to joining the firm, she served as director of environment and health care policy at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, a legislative aide in the Ohio House of Representatives, and a Legislative Service Commission fellow. Susan is proud to have returned to the family farm to marry the boy next door, James “Old” McDonald, who farms full-time and operates McDonald’s Greenhouse & Corn Maze in Zanesville, Ohio. 
Kelly Moore is an attorney and former co-owner of Wright & Moore Law Co. LPA in Delaware, Ohio, a small firm with a primary practice in agricultural law. Kelly’s focus areas have included estate and succession planning and trust administration, including federal estate tax return preparation. Kelly truly enjoys working with farmers and is honored to assist clients who hold such steadfast family values and a great work ethic. She finds it exciting and fulfilling to work with families, especially the wives, to complete a successful transition plan for their family and farm. Her company, Make Hay Consulting LLC, also provides guidance to farm families through the FARMS project in conjunction with OSU Extension.
Robert Moore is an attorney and research specialist with the Agricultural and Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University. Prior to joining OSU, Robert and his wife Kelly owned Wright & Moore Law Co. LPA, where his focus was on farm succession planning, business entities, and taxation, and where he worked with many families to develop succession plans for their farm operations. He is excited to bring his experience to OSU and looks forward to providing educational information and resources to farm families. Robert grew up on a dairy farm in Coshocton County, Ohio. He attended The Ohio State University for a B.S. in Dairy Science and an M.S. in Agricultural Economics and received his J.D. from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, where he graduated cum laude.
Jesse Richardson is a Professor of Law at West Virginia University College of Law, where his research and teaching are focused on land use and water law.  He also speaks on ethics and agriculture for the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) and National Agricultural Law Center. Jesse has served on the Board of Directors for AALA, the Universities Council on Water Resources, and the National Cave and Karst Research Institute. He has received the William E. Wine Award for teaching excellence from Virginia Tech, the University Certificate of Excellence in Outreach, and awards for Professional Scholarship, Excellence in Agricultural Law, and Distinguished Service from the AALA. Jesse holds a B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Kristine Tidgren is the Director of the Center for Agricultural Law & Taxation at Iowa State University and the Dolezal Adjunct Associate Professor in the Agricultural Education and Studies Department. Kristine enjoys researching and analyzing complex tax issues. She writes and edits articles, blog posts, and educational materials on tax law, speaks on tax and legal topics throughout the year, and regularly collaborates with professionals from the Rural Tax Education Committee, American Agricultural Law Association, and Land Grant University Tax Education Foundation. Kristine received her J.D., Order of the Coif, from the University of Texas at Austin and her B.A. in Journalism from Iowa State. She grew up on a farm in west central Iowa.
Peter Woodlock is a Professor in the Lariccia School of Accounting & Finance at Youngstown State University.  His research interests are in accounting and finance, with an emphasis on private equity.  Peter is the author of nearly two dozen scholarly articles on tax, accounting, and finance issues, with his most recent being on the topic of "Valuing Family Owned Business for Estate Tax Purposes."  He has received multiple Distinguished Professor in Public Service and Professor of the Year awards from Youngstown State University.  Peter earned his B.S. in Business Administration from Youngstown State, followed by an M.A. in Economics and a PhD in Accounting from The Ohio State University.



$295 for general

$35 for students

Date and Time: 
Monday, August 5, 2024 - 8:00am to Tuesday, August 6, 2024 - 12:30pm
Cincinnati, Ohio or Online
University of Cincinnati College of Law
Multipurpose Room
2925 Campus Green Drive
Cincinnati, Ohio 45219
Parking will be available for a fee at the Campus Green Garage attached to the College of Law. The address for the garage is: 
2935 Campus Green Drive
CincInnati, Ohio 45219
We do not have a Conference Hotel, attendees will need to make lodging arrangements on their own.