Farm Ownership and Transition Workshop Resource Book

Beef + Lamb NZ

Type: PDF
Knowledge level: Intermediate

This is a 52-page resource book (latest edition 2018) compiled by Beef+Lamb NZ. It considers farm succession as a process, not an event or an action. It states that successful farm ownership and transition start with planning.

It begins with a section discussing the nature of family businesses. The paper states that “Family businesses are largely misunderstood in New Zealand; we try and fit them into the corporate or non-family business category by negating the impact family and family relationships have on and in the business, both good and bad.”

The potential strengths and weaknesses of a family business are outlined:


  • Commitment and loyalty
  • Continuity of knowledge
  • Reliability
  • Community involvement
  • Shared values


  • Governance
  • Accountability
  • HR
  • Communication
  • Poor use of professionals
  • Decision making

The authors state that regular family business meetings are essential to ensure there is a continual alignment of individual needs, the family, and the business. A family business meeting framework/guidelines are provided.

The booklet provides a new perspective on the transition process. Some recent statistics from Grant Thorton are provided:

  • 75% of businesses across the world are family-controlled or owner-operated
  • Of these, less than 50% will survive the first 100 months (8+ years)
  • Less than 30% of these family businesses will succeed to the second generation
  • In other words, 70% will be gone

They suggest that an alternative view is to look at succession as “the transition or continuance of the family farm business – with or without family members at the helm”.

A case study is presented of the Miller family in which only one of their three children is interested in farming. It looks at how to value the child’s contribution to the farm.

There is a section on conflict and dispute resolution as well as an understanding of the different options available to farm ownership (leasing, equity partnerships, share farming) and operating structures (trusts, partnerships, companies). The advantages and disadvantages of each are explored.

2018 - Australia - Beef + Lamb NZ
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