The time for planning is now

In Agribusiness, Agricultural Entrepreneurship on April 7, 2009 at 9:12 pm

It wasn’t that long ago when the words “succession” and “plan” weren’t even used in the same sentence. Since then it has become more common for families to begin the process of deciding how to hand over the reins.

Still, too often, this process starts late in the career of the incumbent farmer. And in too many cases, the business and family dysfunction that are uncovered as a result makes it difficult to craft a winnable solution.

Probably the best thing about this situation is that if the process of succession planning and addressing the ancillary issues is begun early, there is a better chance of creating a higher-performing farm business unit. A proactive approach is less costly and more rewarding in the long run.

There are several phases of the farm business that should be addressed on an ongoing basis, not only when there is an acute need to talk about them.

And the thing about these is that none of them have as much to do with agronomy or animal husbandry as with farm business management.

Here they are:

1. Strategic Planning: Defining business and personal goals is important to do before your age or business situation forces you to do it.

2. Portfolio Management: This is the process of determining how to allocate resources. Now would be a good time to consider both which enterprises are most profitable and whether to add new ones.

3. Early-stage Succession Planning: This process should begin when your children, should you have any, are still children. There are organizations that can help you with this process.

For help with succession planning, contact the Kansas Rural Family Help Line at their Web site: Kansas Rural Family Help Line

For help with strategic planning and portfolio analysis, contact David Mace at Maverick Creative Group: Maverick Creative Group

  1. Excellent points! Our family put off the succession planning until it was too late, and we uncovered business and family dysfunction indeed! I posted my own thoughts on what we young farmers looking to get back into the family biz should think about on my blog:

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