Farm Table says:
In the 2014 edition, Geoff Tually presents his first guide for farming families. The guide provides “information, ideas and options for assisting farm families, who are considering Farm Succession and/or looking at opportunities for family members”. The guide is based on formal research and Geoff’s history of working with farming families.
Tually opens by stating that in his 25 years working with farm families, the following issues surface again and again
- How do you find someone who understands the issues involved in providing farm succession advice/assistance?
- Lack of information to assist farm families and options available with farm succession/growing the farm family business.
This guide is comprehensive and includes workbooks, case studies and mountains of information.
A brief summary of Tually’s views and some key takeaway points on the various aspects of the succession planning process include:
- ‘Buying back’ the family farm each generation, does nothing for Australian agriculture and the family member who ‘buys back’ the family farm. Many parents have told me that they did not want to burden their son or daughter with this farm succession method.
- “How do you split up a family farm”, I was asked, “between the five children”. Their mother had died and the children were somewhat anxious about their father’s new relationship. I said why split it up, why not build up five businesses using the home farm as a base. The answer I received, “I had not thought of that”.
- The farm family need to decide: Is it wealth distribution or wealth development or some combination?
- By separating the land from the farm business and using separate ownership structures creates more options for farm families.
- Equal and fairness are very complex terms, when used in conjunction with family farm businesses.
- Write your ideas down on paper and this will help reduce family frustration in not knowing what is going on. Planning provides a framework for determining what questions to ask farm service providers and for the continuation of the business should anything happen to the farm business operator.
- Suggesting that the farm business be left in a will and divided between family members – this is Estate Planning and NOT farm succession and will destroy the OPPORTUNITY to build on parents life time work.