When it comes to ‘what’s next’ for the farm, there’s a lot to think about. Like any good business owner, food and fibre producers must have a plan for the future of their business. Whether that’s passing the farm on to the next generation, introducing an equity partner, or selling it to an entirely independent third party. It’s not too early to start thinking about what’s next for you, your family, and your farm, and it’s never too late.
There’s no blueprint for how long it should or will take for a farm to transfer hands, but you can follow the tips below to get started.
Having an agreed plan in place means that when the time comes, succession is likely to have fewer surprises. Our experience helping customers with succession has shown that the best plans result from taking time, listening, acknowledging all views and being open about plans.
Having informal family discussions, years before a possible succession, is a good way to prepare. As the business evolves and family members’ needs change, it’s good to revisit the subject regularly.
Talking well in advance of a possible succession also makes it easier to have honest conversations about various key issues. Start by thinking about the below:
What role do family members play in the business?
Who in the family is/are likely successors?
What do you want to achieve?
What’s your business purpose?
Does your business achieve have a strategy or roadmap for success?
How do we help you build a sustainable profitable business?
How does your current structure enable you to achieve business success?
What forms of governance (or control) does the business have at present?
How do you monitor or report viability?
What targets/actions can be put in place to ensure we continue to progress towards our plan?
It helps having a third-party facilitating family discussion, preferably one with experience in succession. They can make the conversation more productive by asking relevant questions and offering potential solutions.
Check out these useful articles and resources for more tips and information about succession planning.
Our ASB Rural Managers work with customers by asking questions and getting them thinking about what a succession plan could look like for them and their business, then using our expertise and relationships to help make that happen. No two farms, farm owners or families are the same and farm succession plans won’t be either.
They talk regularly with customers, so they appreciate the family nature of the business as well as understand farm finances and operations. Having a close relationship with your business means that when you’re ready to discuss succession, your Rural Manager is ready to help.