A new web site has been designed to help farmers make plans for their retirement.

According to Sharon DeVaney, Purdue University's associate professor of consumer and family sciences, farm families may find calculating the cost of retirement particularly tricky.

The "Retirement Estimator for Farm Families" was developed by DeVaney, in conjunction with Janet Bechman, an Extension specialist in family resource management, and George Patrick, a professor of agricultural economics. The resource was created with funding provided by the USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.

Patrick said: "Unlike many people who leave their jobs all at once, farmers often retire in stages. A farmer may first get rid of livestock, then later cut back on crop production and eventually stop planting altogether and rent out his land."

"We typically don't take resources other than our pensions into retirement. However, many farmers retire with their assets, such as land and equipment. Figuring out when and how to part with those assets is part of retirement planning."

The site helps estimate the annual income necessary for retirement and suggests options for matching expenses with projected available funds. It includes inputs for income from rented crop and pastureland, income from the sale of machinery and other farm-related income and expenses.

Other facets to retiring from farming are intergenerational issues, sibling concerns and communicating those plans to family members.

DeVaney said: "It's our goal to provide farmers an easy calculator to work through some possible solutions to the question 'How can I afford to retire?'"

To visit the web site, click here.