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Starting the succession process can help keep the younger generation on-board and engaged.
The best time to talk about farm succession is sooner rather than later, and delaying it can be costly.
Is there a topic your family needs, wants or even plans to talk about – but never is actually discussed? For many, that’s succession planning. While putting it off can feel like the easiest path, Trevor Maclean urges farm families to kickstart the discussion.
“In my experience and opinion, it always works out best for families when you start the conversation early,” says Maclean, Lethbridge, Alta.-based Agriculture Transition Specialist with MNP.
Maclean sees three main impacts when families don’t deal with succession. First, a frustrated younger generation could leave for jobs that offer better opportunity for reward and advancement. Two, relations between family members can deteriorate – affecting both family and farm negatively.
“The third impact is hard to quantify but it’s about missed opportunities,” says Maclean. “What is the cost when the younger generation is showing up for work but isn’t truly engaged in building the business? What opportunities will the farm not be able to capitalize on?”
One reason to start early is that succession takes time to get right. Maclean believes farm families should expect a two- to five-year process.
“If that seems like a long time and a lot of work,” says Maclean, “just ask yourself how much time and effort went into building the farm business in the first place. Succession is a drop in the bucket.”
Episode 60: Unconventional Succession Planning
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Farm succession planning guide
Learn More
Episode 60: Unconventional Succession Planning
Farm succession planning guide
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