Is the right hybrid selected? Has seed and fertilizer been purchased? What is Plan B if Mother Nature does not cooperate? So the question is: Why don't farmers plan for farm succession or retirement as they do with any other part of their operation?
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Farmers take time to prepare and plan for the growing cropping season, a major modernization or expansion project or a major investment. Why not take the time to plan for farm succession and retirement? Just like these preparations for the planting season, farmers need to plan for farm succession. Based on U.
Department of Agriculture figures from the late s, about 8, U. That means around 5, farms will need to develop some type of business succession or exit plan during the next few years. Farmers face many issues and challenges when it comes to retirement and farm succession, including:. Many farmers follow a "do-nothing" strategy because of fear of mortality and loss of identity, inability to choose among children, spousal resistance and external worries about change, Ivan Lansberg noted in " The Succession Conspiracy ," his influential paper published in the Harvard Business Review.
Farm transfer planning is a process of decision-making that protects land's agricultural and forest production while preserving family relationships and enhancing community development. Farm transfer planning is planning for the future. In addition to succession questions, farmers must consider the business plan financial, management, and ownership for themselves and those who may eventually take over the operation.
Farmers slowly exiting the business need to plan to pay for retirement and to understand how their estate plan affects the farm operation succession. When planning, farmers should establish their values, vision, mission and goals for not only the farm operation, but for themselves personally as well.
Multiple pitfalls of farm succession planning should be avoided:. Farmers must take the time to shift gears. Planning for the future supports their true legacy: preserving the family.
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Family Business Review. Search for more papers by this author. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access. Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article. Citing Literature. A successful leadership transition can easily take three to five years, and many companies take a decade to fully implement the plan.
You may retire outright on a certain date, or you may gradually relinquish authority and responsibilities while you mentor your successor. You may decide to retain a seat on the board of directors for yourself with or without voting control , become a strategic leader who takes on long-term planning projects or manage an acquisition or new division. You may elect to act as a corporate ambassador to key clients, at industry events or in community volunteer activities.
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Or, you may take the time to write a company history. Meanwhile, you must clearly define how you intend to release daily operational decisions to your successor, who assumes authority and responsibilities one at a time on a defined timetable while your involvement decreases.
At the beginning of the transition, you are involved before each decision; later, the successor makes the decisions and receives your feedback afterward; finally, your advice is only requested as needed, and you stay out of the operational decisions entirely. At the appropriate time, your financial plan must be in place, including any income stream from company assets you may own buildings or property and lease them back to the company, for example.
The Succession Conspiracy: A Critique of Guru Apologetics
Stock ownership must be transferred, and information on the transfer released publicly. Expect a grieving period, where you may deal with a form of empty-nest syndrome, and your successor may suffer guilt for past sins or worry about making bad decisions without you there to correct them. The handoff of control is like the passing of a baton in a relay race. Performed smoothly, it is nearly imperceptible to the audience, but it requires intensive practice and preparation to build confidence and skills.
The passer must release the baton, or the new runner may stumble and fall. The new runner must be prepared to take over at full speed and continue the race successfully, adding new power and energy to the team effort.
Your business is like a child. You nurture it, watch it grow strong and help it mature.
Farmers Need To Take Time To Plan Farm Succession | WisContext
One day it reaches adulthood and seems to be resisting your direction. Transition planning helps your business to find its own path, while crisis planning protects the system during the process. Once the business has found its own life without you, you are free to pursue new dreams. Continue to part 2. Denise Norberg-Johnson is a former subcontractor and past president of two national construction associations.
She may be reached at ddjohnson sbcglobal.
Don't worry, we'll come to you. Your Business. By Denise Norberg-Johnson. Published In March