Succession planning may appear to be a difficult topic at first, but only a very small percentage of farm owners and operators haven’t begun talking about transition.
One of the key elements of transition planning is the transfer of ownership. The Ag Succession Survey looked at who currently owns the farm and who will own the farm in the next decade.
The lack of financial support for young farmers is one of the barriers for transition planning, according to responses from the Ag Succession Survey. Within the final comments section, there were many respondents that commented how inaccessible the industry is - even for those within it.
The plan was all set – the 7,000-acre grain farm would transition from father to son, as would two other enterprises, each earning about one million dollars in revenue annually. Out of everyone in the family, only one son was interested in farming.
We've gathered the best succession advice from farming families and experts who have been through the process. Here's what worked and what they would have done differently, given the opportunity. 
One of the toughest challenges for young farmers is the uncertainty around what the plan is for the family farm in the future and how they fit into that plan. Farm transition planning brings certainty.
Heather Watson, the executive director of Farm Management Canada, says there are unfortunately a lot of misconceptions about farm transition planning, making it difficult for many farms to start the conversation.
Choosing a successor is no easy task. While various family members may have ideas about who’s entitled to inherit the farm, the current owners may have very different ideas about who has the skills to keep the farm going in the long run.
A farm transition plan, a farm succession plan, an intergenerational transfer plan, a farm continuity plan – no matter what you call it, the process of planning a successful transition of a farm business from one generation to the next can sometimes be a minefield of family dynamics.
I smile knowingly as I read the farmer’s checklist, he wants to “avoid the mistakes farmers typically make” in succession planning. I don’t pretend to have the exhaustive list, but in eight years of coaching I have seen many scenarios that you don’t want to repeat.
I am extremely grateful for the three neighbours who showed up with three extra combines to harvest on the last sunny Saturday of September; it really made a huge difference in reducing the stress on our farm. When I relayed this story to an easterner, he said, “Wow, they still do that out there! Neighbours here are so competitive for land; that never happens anymore!”
Today I have encountered three acquaintances who are all dealing with different kinds of loss. A husband whose wife is suffering from a stroke. A woman whose nephew is suffering from a mental illness. Someone who has just buried her mother a few short weeks ago and is thankful that she got to celebrate her loved mum’s life with a funeral. She is also her mother had taken the time to write a will and have everything in order.
Succession planning requires good communication, but this doesn't mean ineffective meetings. The number one problem with meetings is the lack of structure. 
Jolene Brown was one of more than a dozen industry leaders who recently spoke at the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference (AWC), which took place on Oct. 30 and 31 at the Hilton Fallsview Hotel in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Good communication is a necessary requirement for farm families to follow through with a succession plan, but what worked a generation ago doesn’t cut it nowadays, according to Richard Cressman, a communication coach based in southeastern Ontario.
Whether you’re at the beginning of the succession planning process, in the midst of transitioning or are about to complete the process, there are different elements to keep in mind.
There’s much more to succession planning than paving the way to financial security, as Lance Stockbrugger, chartered accountant and farmer, knows from working with farming clients over the years.
Many farm families view succession planning as an event rather than a process and that, according to Darrell Wade, founder of Farm Life Financial Planning Group and a certified member of the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors, can be a big mistake.
There are more articles about succession planning than there are succession plans in place.
Farm Management Canada (FMC) recently held its Agricultural Excellence Conference in Ottawa, Ontario where Darrell Wade was announced as the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Wilson Loree Award. Now in its fifteenth year, the Award honours individuals or groups who have made an extraordinary contribution to advancing agricultural business management practices in Canada.
Passing down the farm from generation to generation has been a tried and true business model for many farm families. But, navigating family dynamics often requires careful consideration and planning to work well.In Farm Credit Canada's special edition of AgriSuccess, celebrating 150 years of agriculture, they asked three multi-generational families for their secrets for success. You can read how they make their family business work, along with the top succession planning picks, here. 
Expansion and innovation is what Dusty Zamecnik is focused on with EZ Grow Farms, even though he wasn’t originally planning to take it over.
Twenty-five years ago, when a very young Simon Ellis first perched on his Dad’s knee to steer a tractor, one thing was already very clear to him: someday, he was going to take over his family’s 1,250 acre farm in Wawanesa, Man., just as his dad, his grandpa and his great-grandpa had done before him.
Third generation poultry farmer Don Sundgaard says when it comes to succession, be patient, encourage off-farm experiences and welcome both formal and informal discussions.
Family is complicated: this is a truth Brent Oswald knows intimately. The current owner and operator of Cottonwood Holsteins Ltd., based in Steinbach, Man., is well-versed in the succession history of his operation, and it hasn’t always run smoothly.
The Ag Succession Survey looked at the state of succession, but it also found out what is missing. What information do current and prospective owners feel they need to overcome hurdles in succession planning?
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) shares their do's and dont's for farm succession planning. 
Let us help you kickstart your succession planning with some help from these national and provincial resources. 
There’s a lot to think about as families prepare the next generation to take over the family farm. An important aspect not to overlook is identifying the skills needed and then getting the training to develop or strengthen those skills – and they aren’t the same skills as in yesteryear.
There’s a lot to think about as a family transitions its farm business to a new generation. Who is the best person to pass the reins to? What skills and training do they need to prepare them for the role of farm owner and operator? What process will the family follow during the transition? And, of course, what are the financial and tax implications of succession for both the current owner and the successor?
“Be afraid of the ‘Tim Hortons lawyer’ – someone down at the coffee shop who wants to give you advice on how to put together your succession plan,” says Robert Fuller, a partner at Simcoe, Ont.-based Brimage Law Group.

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