ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - After four decades of farming, Kevin Carley was ready to pass along his dairy operation in central New York. And his son-in-law was eager to take charge.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) After four decades of farming, Kevin Carley was ready to pass along his dairy operation in central New York. And his son-in-law was eager to take charge.

But simply selling an expensive farm can be costly and complicated. So the pair structured a deal that phased in control to son-in-law Dan Dimon, leaving Carley as an employee at the farm in Pompey.

The need to be innovative in selling farms to the next generation is becoming more urgent as farmland prices rise and farmers get older.

Federal statistics show the number of farmers who are 65 or older grew by 22 percent nationwide in the five years ending in 2007. At the same time, the price of farmland has been rising steadily around the nation.