Avoiding the Mistakes of a Farm Family Succession Planning Train Wreck


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?  


1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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. 

5. 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.