The decision as to who will succeed you on the farm was probably taken years ago and that son or daughter may have been working with you already for many years. But will your successor be able to take off from where you left off, or will he or she be saddled with debt and obligations to other family members? Will you be able to give each family member a positive contribution to their lifestyles, thereby allowing them to share in and build on your success? Munro’s has extensive experience in this area and has successfully helped many farming families with succession, creating the right climate for strong family growth.
Just like any farming activity, the key to succession is in the planning. Planning done sometimes well in advance of the event, sometimes, not. Either way, the planning needs to be carefully thought through, based on a thorough understanding of family needs and dynamics as well as the legal and financial structures.
Fair and equitable
Life may not be fair, but arriving at a succession plan that is acceptable to the family is critical and providing that sense of fairness may become your greatest achievement as a farmer. Professional and knowledgeable mediation throughout the planning and implementation process helps you get there, particularly if personalities get in the way and there are legal and financial matters to consider.
Keeping the family together
Perhaps the ultimate goal of any succession planning is to keep the family together both today and tomorrow. Too often, farming families become divided when perceived needs are not met as conflict arises. Should we really view a succession plan as a life plan – one that assures those around you that they are valued now as well as down the track?