accept that this is a complex, on-going process.
» Succession is part of family farming. A repetitive cycle that some farming families are almost always engaged in.
» Succession is actually part of what attracts those who go farming.
» Differentiate between ownership and control.
In most instances the process of family farm succession will be extensive.It should therefore start as early as possible.Those who expect to sort the whole thing in a matter of months are likely to find otherwise.Rather than succession being viewed as a burden or inconvenience, taking that amount of time and care would more usefully be thought of as a welcome and intrinsic part of farming and family culture.
Just as the difference between fairness and equality needs to be understood, it is also important to differentiate between “ownership” and “control”.They are not the same, and unless the difference is highlighted, disharmony can eventuate.
Put simply, who holds the cheque-book? Who sits in the driver’s seat of the ute when you look over the paddocks? Who calls the shots? Who sets the terms for the management of the farm? That is the person who has “control”, and much of the art of farm succession is about how that control is transferred.
Sometimes it will be possible for a farming family to identify the child who will take over the farm early on.In many families that person virtually selects himself or herself.However, that is not always the case, and it would be unwise to make irreversible assumptions about who the successor is going to be.Those who keep an open mind about their children are more likely to preserve long-term family harmony.For the parent’s future the farm needs to be passed into the most capable hands.Not just the eldest hands.