Tough Conversations Are Key to Successful Farm Transitions

Transitioning a farm operation from one generation to the next is no small feat. In a recent article published by Farm Futures, author Mike Wilson offers some advice for those faced with this tricky task.

What is it that makes farm succession so difficult? Wilson highlights three factors:

  1. People who farm tend to be very private and don’t easily approach difficult topics such as succession.
  2. Long-standing family drama or grudges can make successions even more complex.
  3. People don’t like to talk about death and dying—an inevitable factor when it comes to farm succession planning.

It’s important for farmers to understand the particular challenges they face in succession planning. Armed with this knowledge, Wilson explains that the important first step is to force oneself out of the comfort zone and openly have difficult conversations. Some of the areas where a clear decision needs to be made include the following:

  • Who will be in charge?
  • Is everyone being treated fairly?
  • Is the current owner willing to give up some control?
  • What is the fair value of the farm?
  • What other ‘what ifs’ need to be discussed?

Though broaching conversations like these is difficult, they are key to making a successful transition.

For more details, read the article in full at Farm Futures.