Step Four

pull together the information necessary for a good plan.

» Establish the parent’s requirements and their vision for the farm.

» Establish which child is the natural successor.

» Ensure full disclosure of the farm and family history including any family conflict.

» Perform one-on-one interviews with each family member to get their views.

» Detail any parental promises that may exist.

» Compile detailed records and accounts of the farm going back 10 years.

» Compile current farm, stock and plant valuations.

» Compile details of the parent’s other interests, assets and liabilities.

» Compile details of the succeeding child’s family, assets, liabilities, aspirations and farming qualifications.

» Compile details of any current or potential developments or diversifications of the farming business.

» Compile details of the non-succeeding children’s lives and aspirations.

Every family farm situation is unique.Succession will not be possible in many cases.There is no point in any child taking over a farm with unsustainable debt levels, uneconomic scale or if succession leads to irreconcilable family and legal conflict.It is also very important that parents ensure the succeeding child and their spouse fully understand the real long term financial performance and prospects of the farm.Succession should not be based on “rose tinted” experiences gained over a few good farming years.The incoming owners need to understand that droughts and commodity downturns will happen.

It is the decision making team’s job to conduct one-on-one interviews with the parents, all of the children and the family’s farming advisors to bring together a “warts and all” assessment of the family’s total situation on and off the farm.Summaries of these interviews should be written up by the Advisor and circulated to every member of the decision making team.These interviews will reveal whether there is a “natural successor” child who has invested their time in the farm and whether any parental promises have been made to them or other children.