12 Days of Top Producer Seminar: Practical Succession Planning

December 15, 2017 01:19 PM

As the holidays approach, families often spend more time thinking about their succession plan. While the Christmas dinner table isn’t the place to discuss succession planning, Top Producer Seminar is! On January 25, Polly Dobbs, a lawyer with Dobbs Legal Group and Farm Journal Legacy Council Advisor will present a breakout session at the 2018 Top Producer Seminar on practical tips for succession planning.

[Register for the 2018 Top Producer Seminar now!]

Here are three things Dobbs says all farmers should consider in 2018:

1.  If you don't have a successor, do you want to find one, or is a machinery auction your plan for retirement or after death, with spouse and kids splitting the net after taxes?  “Many programs are available to match young farmers with mentors who are nearing retirement with no related successors who like the idea of grooming a young farmer who buys into operations over time, or following death,” she says.

2.  If you do have a successor, related or not, take steps to protect access to your land by your successor in operations.  “Your spouse and kids can be landlords, who are contractually obligated to lease your land to your successor in operations on terms you've defined as being reasonable and fair,” she says. “Don't let the land get sold out from underneath the operator, and you may not want to force the successor in operations to buy the family land, if access thereto is sufficient.  You need to draw the road map; don't make them figure it out on their own.”

3.  Ask all your landlords for a first right to purchase their land.  “You know which landlords have eager heirs waiting to put the farm up for auction before the landlord is even cold in the ground,” she says. “Many of those landlords have verbally indicated they want you to have buy their land.  When it comes to real property, contracts must be in writing, oral promises don't stand up.  Get that first right in writing, with details about the purchase price the landlord deems fair, and record it.  Then after the landlord's death, you have a contractual right to purchase the land, and won't have to show up at an auction to bid on land that's an important base to your operations.”

Dobbs’ session will occur during the 9:10 a.m. and 10:10 a.m. breakout sessions on Thursday.


Attend 2018 Top Producer Seminar

When: Jan. 23–26

Where: Hilton Chicago Hotel Downtown, 720 S. Michigan Ave.

What: Welcome reception on Tuesday, Jan. 24 with Trust In Food Symposium attendees; business education and Top Producer of the Year banquet on Wednesday, Jan. 25; “U.S. Farm Report” taping and business education with lunch keynote on Thursday, Jan. 26; and sponsor breakfast followed by two mainstage presentations on the global ag economy and event wrap-up at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 27

More Info: To register for the seminar or for additional information, visit TopProducerSeminar.com.

Thanks to our 2018 Top Producer Seminar sponsors:

Premier Level: Agrium (ESN), BASF, Bayer, Beck’s Hybrids, Case IH, Channel, DOW AgroSciences, John Deere, KCOE ISOM, DuPont Pioneer, Top Third Ag Marketing, Valent Co-Sponsors: CliftonLarsonAllen, Rabo AgriFinance Supporting Level: Advance Trading, BMO Harris, Transition Point Business Advisors

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