Workshop aids farmers in crisis planning

Keeping a farm or related business going if a key person becomes incapacitated or dies can be a challenge without proper planning, said a local Purdue Extension educator.

Purdue Extension is offering a workshop to help area residents prepare for such a crisis and alleviate worries.

Code Red is offered from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Purdue Extension Bartholomew County office, 783 S. Marr Road in Columbus.

The main tool people will learn is a spreadsheet that helps with collecting important information in one place so that it can be accessed by others within the farm operation or business, said Kris Medic, Bartholomew County’s Extension educator for agriculture, natural resources and community development.

Medic said the Women in Agriculture team started Code Red in 2013.

“In their experiences, when spouses who worked in farming were hospitalized or died, they didn’t have access to information to keep the business going. You want a business to continue and for income to come in,” Medic said.

Code Red helps with collecting bank accounts, insurance policies, padlock codes and social media passwords, among other information, and putting it into a spreadsheet that has easy-to-identify tabs, Medic said.

The spreadsheet can be customized, and additional information such as a will or power of attorney can be added, Medic said.

The workshop has another benefit, Medic said.

“For people who have not started succession planning or estate planning, this is a good first step,” she said.

Workshop participants can receive a jump drive with all the spreadsheet information loaded, making it possible to share and save in multiple safe locations or with multiple key people, Medic said.

The workshop is free, but there’s a $10 cost if people want a jump drive.

If participants show up at noon, they can eat chili with locally-raised beef that will be served following a different morning workshop, Medic said.

Register by calling the Purdue Extension Bartholomew County office at 812-379-1665.

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.