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Milestone or Millstone?

Planning for succession is a process. Since most plans are implemented incrementally, as in a gradual ownership transition, the end result isn’t really knowable. However, the process will have a lasting impact on the owner[s], the family, and the farm. Over time, it will become clear whether the family’s plan for succession is measured in gratifying milestones or grinding on participants like a millstone.

Grow it Forward

Though based on the growing prospects for ‘Wall Street’ investors in agriculture, the article Barbarians at the Farm Gate in The Economist (January 3rd, 2015) points out several opportunities and some obligations for today’s farming professionals. Among the latter is the unstated, but implied duty to plan for succession, if remaining a family in farming is your ultimate goal.

Who Benefits from a Succession Plan?

A comprehensive succession plan includes designs pertaining to a sustainable business model, leadership development, financial security/capital management, ownership transition, and an estate tax strategy. All of these elements combine to create a business that will endure beyond the current generation.

"There's Only Two Kinds..."

“…the quick and the dead,” is a commonly used refrain from Tom Peters. Though the comment probably originated as a reference to gunfighters of old, the sentiment rings true when referencing business leaders today---albeit with significantly less carnage.

Can I Do It Myself?

Done right, the succession planning process requires time, money, and effort. It’s not once-and-done. Succession is a series of experiences that move the operation, the family, and the owner toward an ownership transition. Along the way, you’ll gain some financial security, prepare the next generation to lead, and fortify the integrity of the operation.