If you grew up on a family farm, then you might be coming into the next phase: taking over the farm or becoming a partner in the business. There is a huge amount of pride in being a part of a family legacy and helping continuously build it, but there are a lot of difficulties in navigating the fields of succession planning, too. Here are some tips to help you with this process.
Start Early and Get Help
Transitioning from one owner to another can be a long process. An article from Growing Produce suggests starting 10-years in advance to when you want to fully transition. This timeframe allows the two generations to work side-by-side while learning and growing together. Ultimately, the older generations want to see their legacy grow and be successful, so they are willing to help in any way they can.
Another important aspect of transferring ownership is legality and paperwork, which can be confusing. However with outside help, at least in the beginning can help tremendously. Also, don’t be afraid to ask other farmers questions about how they run their farms to better understand what might work best for you.
Have Open and Honest Conversations
Making sure to have real conversations with the older generation can help you to better understand the decisions they have made and is a great learning opportunity. Although conversations about ownership can be hard or awkward, especially if there are multiple children, it is imperative to have them. Making sure the whole family is on the same page about who will take over is important, but layout what the inheritance in the future would look like. (This is where outside help can be super beneficial!)
Develop Leadership Skills
Leadership skills are crucial to being a successful owner or manager for any business. If you, as the younger generation, take the initiative to develop these skills it will help to prove to the older generations you are ready to put in the hard work that comes with being a farmer. Whether or not you go to college, there are degrees, programs, and courses in leadership and management that you can take to develop these skills. Here are the 10 Best Leadership Courses, Certification & Degrees of 2020.
Create a Plan
As the next potential owner, create a business plan that outlines what you want to accomplish as the one in charge and how you will do so. A great step you can take here is to create a SWOT analysis about yourself. If you don’t know what a SWOT analysis is, read What Is a SWOT Analysis, and How to Do It Right (With Examples). Having a plan shows your parents you are truly ready to take over the family farm. Maybe you can even come up with a new idea of how to bring in more capital.
One way to show them you are ready and invested is to buy-in to the farm at some level. This might mean having a meeting with a bank since you will want to establish those relationships at some point when you will need a loan or operating credit. If you are ready to do that now, we have lots of options to choose from that will help prove to your family you truly want to be a part of their legacy.
So, if you are ready to build upon the legacy of your family farm, then embrace and learn about the history, but remember to look to the future and its potential. I am here when you are ready to learn how TSB can help you with growing your farm legacy.
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