Avoiding the Mistakes of a Farm Family Succession Planning Train Wreck

PROGRAM OBJECTVE:   Most farming family members operate their farm business  with the best of intentions along with the hope of keeping their farm in the family for future generations.  But often a lack of family communications and the failure by family members to share expectations with each other can quickly put an abrupt end to a farming legacy.  Too many times, family farms end up being divided during a dispute or even sold at public auction.  Bitterness and blaming between family members now takes over; even to the point where some families no longer will speak to each other.  With proper planning strategies, most often this conflict could have been resolved and a successful solution determined that keeps a farm in the family for future generations.


This program will share guidelines and farm succession planning strategies as well as identify solutions that result is a successful transfer of farm ownership/management control between farm family generations.    What are often the succession planning mistakes by farm families that cause this failure when transferring a farm or ag business enterprise to the next generation  of young farm business owners?  More importantly, how can these mistakes be avoided to insure a more successful transition so that a farming operation legacy continues and prospers for future generations?   What are the business management planning tools along with the family dynamics/communication strategies that will be necessary to accomplish this task and to empower a family farming legacy for further success?  



This program will accomplish the following five Learning Objectives for family farming operations:


  • Identifying and understanding the ten most common mistakes that cause farm succession planning efforts to fail and often derail the transition of a family farming operation to next generation.  Adopting the necessary business management strategies and planning tools to insure a more successful transition of farm ownership/management control between generations. 
  • Avoiding potential family disputes and jealousies between adult siblings as well as possible legal problems to insure a family farming legacy continues for the next farming generation.  Why does family conflict even happen?  Adopting guidelines to resolve potential family conflict with more positive outcomes which keeps a farm in the family for future young farm owners and creates a foundation for their farming business success. 


  • Initiating a discussion process with all family members to begin this task of succession planning . Taking steps to insure all family voices are being heard during this planning process.  Outlining the farm succession planning questions that family members should be asking each other.


  • Learning to communicate more effectively as family members when discussing the emotional feelings as well as fears that are often involved when drafting a farm ownership succession plan. Encouraging family members to share their EXPECTATIONS with others to avoid possible misunderstandings and to prevent potential family disputes leading to a planning train wreck. 


  • Capitalizing on the personal family dynamics to promote the continued success and profitability of a farm business operation for future generations.  Striving for family harmony/unity while building stronger family relationships throughout the succession planning process to preserve a farming legacy.  Creating a mission statement with an identified purpose to insure a family farming succession train wreck never happens.