Beat the Odds: How to Keep Your Farm, Family Together

November 27, 2015 06:55 AM
Beat the Odds: How to Keep Your Farm, Family Together

Succession planning workshop for farmers on Dec. 9 in Little Rock

Did you know 90% of families fail to keep their farm together for three or more generations? It’s a staggering figure and might even seem like unbeatable odds, but you don’t have to be a statistic. Good planning, open communication and solid preparation can put you in that coveted 10% who successfully transition generation after generation.

Dick Wittman, succession planning and financial management consultant in Culdesac, Idaho, says family businesses often struggle with the difference between succession planning and estate planning. Succession planning deals with business viability and future leadership, while estate planning addresses financial and tax issues within the business.

Both are critical in the planning process to pass on the family farm to the next generation but too often families put the cart before the horse.

One of the biggest mistakes Wittman says he has witnessed in four decades of advising family businesses is the tendency to start with estate planning with the best of intentions to work on succession planning later. While you can work on both simultaneously, key succession planning questions need to be answered before estate planning can truly begin.

Learn the difference between succession planning and estate planning and create a family dialogue to answer those critical questions at the Farm Journal Legacy Workshop on Dec. 9, in Little Rock, Ark.

Dick Wittman leads the workshop with discussions on constructing a succession plan and actionable steps to get you on the right path toward a successful plan to pass on your legacy to the next generation.

Event Details:

Wednesday, December 9

Wyndham Riverfront Little Rock
2 Riverfront Place
North Little Rock, AR 72114


Dick Wittman, Wittman Consulting

Randy Netek, CPA, Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

Katie E. Watson, Lawyer, Eldredge & Clark, LLP

Click here to see the event agenda and register today!

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Spell Check

Strathmore, CA
7/8/2015 04:35 PM

  As I reviewed the key topics I thought, we did all that, but I guess we didn't. I can explain eloquently about what happens when the thing happens you never thought COULD happen. I can explain how after you work 20+ years, some with no pay, and your parents' whole life and because they want you to succeed, they guarantee the notes. I can explain how desperate you get when milk goes to 10 & stays there and stays there and stays there. I can explain that even if you file you will be feed to death by the Trustee, your lawyer, your bank, your accountant. I can relate a story of an elderly couple and my late 40's husband and I spending Christmas Eve in the Title Companies offices signing away everything and agreeing to liens on everything, fully ensuring that we will never be debt free or for us, able to buy a home. I can tell you about teaching school and trying to keep my eyes dry the day I knew the auction house was picking up the cows I had loved all those years. I can share how the bank lady sat with my former friend, the auctioneer and dickered about percentages at my table like they couldn't hear my heart breaking. I could let you know how I truly learned how people are when they needed to walk through the houses and make sure we didn't steal appliances after living in them for 20 years. I can tell a lot of stories, like how the buyer wanted a survey and it turned out my neighbor had adversely possessed a chunk of land for years, even laid irrigation lines on it. No worries though, the Real Estate Agent and the two rich parties went to lunch and worked it all out, never mind we made payments and paid taxes all those years. It's been years and still is a nightmare. When my dad bought so many years ago, it was from a lady & he made sure she was dealt with fairly & able to move on. Not so with the new owners. They paid the lowest they could and the bank pressured the sale, as did the agent of course (180,000 to him.) in hindsight, I don't know, it was and is so hard.


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