PROGRAM OBJECTIVE: What happens when “this will never happen” suddenly does happen? Few farming operations survive an unexpected change to the ownership organization and/or the management structure of their farming business, let alone a crisis situation within the family itself. Real life “what if” issues such as unexpected death, sudden illness or a farming accident, family legal disputes, as well as financial struggles are often never discussed. Family members often pretend this could never happen to our farm. But what if it does happen? What might now happen next? Being prepared with a contingency plan enables a farm business to survive a potential shark attack (unexpected change) while still continuing to prosper for future generations.
Most farm families realize the importance of implementing a contingency plan for farm ownership succession if and when something unexpected ever happens, but seldom does a family ever accomplish this business management goal. Family obstacles as well as personal anxieties can become road blocks which prevent family members from working through this transition planning process without becoming tangled up in family disputes or even legal problems. There are seven Shark Tank questions which frequently arise when planning for farm ownership succession. These challenging questions must eventually be discussed and resolved to everyone’s agreement. This presentation will address each of these seven questions and offer solutions for a farm family to achieve a successful transition of ownership between generations to continue their farming legacy. An effective management strategy is to put yourself in the Shark Tank and begin addressing the difficult questions and situations that might arise from the uncertainties and risks of farming. This action is a required step in protecting/managing the farm’s wealth as well as preserving farm business assets for future generations.
SUMMARY POINT: Farm families must embrace the importance of developing as well as implementing a business contingency planning process to achieve a successful farm succession plan so that their farming operation remains in the family for future generations. No one wants to be in the Shark Tank and be faced with a stressful situation if and when the unexpected happens. Striving to find answers as well as solutions is an effective management strategy for success when initiating a business contingency plan in case a sudden shark attack happens to the farm or family or even both at once.