Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version

Summer 6-18-2012


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Natural Resource Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Mark E. Burbach. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Shari Kunert


Many Nebraska agriculturists rely on small family farms for their livelihood. The farm is their source of income and may be an important inheritance for their family when they retire or die. Land succession planning is a process to allow landowners to pass farmland on to the next generation without incurring a potentially debilitating tax liability for the heirs. The purpose of this study is to determine the influence of place attachment on land succession planning of Nebraska agriculturists. This comparative research, mixed methods in nature, involves Nebraska agriculturists who have a land succession plan and Nebraska agriculturists who do not have a land succession plan, and are both within 10 years of retirement (52 years of age) and beyond retirement. The qualitative portion explored how Nebraska agriculturists with and without a succession plan described their place attachment to their land. Ten themes emerged from the qualitative analysis on the Nebraska agriculturists with a will. Eight themes emerged from the qualitative analysis on the Nebraska agriculturists without a will. Two themes, nature bonding and family bonding, were held in common. In the quantitative portion explaining place attachment, Nebraska agriculturalists with a will had significantly higher place identity, place dependence, nature bonding, and overall place attachment than Nebraska agriculturists without a will. The two hypotheses that were not supported were for greater family bonding and friend bonding in Nebraska agriculturists with a will than Nebraska agriculturists without a will. This study opens the door for further place attachment research in other states to assist in outreach programs in succession planning for agriculturists.

Adviser: Mark E. Burbach