The steps to leaving a legacy for your farm family
A love for the land and the bounty it produces starts with little tykes and, we hope, stretches from one generation to the next. Rising land prices, boom times in agriculture and the aging of farmers are awakening an awareness of the need to plan. Fortunately, the strong economy is enticing more young producers. Knowing where to start the transition is the holdup for many.
The Farm Journal Legacy Project is just the place to start. Our resources, along with a qualified team of advisers, can walk you through the stages of the process. There’s no denying the complexity of the process, but the rewards of leaving a legacy are worth the investment of time, energy and money.
Succession planning is more than gathering the family around the kitchen table a time or two, throwing together an estate plan and buying life insurance. It’s a step-by-step process that provides for the financial and leadership success that underpin multigenerational businesses.
The Farm Journal Legacy Project, with support from Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, is a catalyst for farm families to take part in the largest transfer of agricultural wealth in history. We invite you to join us and start today in taking meaningful steps to leave a legacy.
Start the Conversation
Succession planning starts with a conversation. Family members are often reluctant to bring up the topic for fear of creating conflict or tension. When it’s time to start the discussion, distribute the Conversation Starters worksheet to get family members talking about their goals.
Effective succession planning at the most basic level involves several family meetings. Use this guide to set your Family Meeting Agenda.
During the initial meeting, it is important for the family to agree on a timeline for the process. For various reasons, some families take longer than others to reach implementation.
It is critical for each family member to set specific goals for themselves and the farm. Use the Goals Clarification worksheet to help define your goals. Also, read about how the Esthers, a case study family covered in Top Producer, used a dynasty trust to meet the desires of each family member.
Even after the death of his wife, Gregg Halverson remained focused on his goals and grew his small farm into the world’s largest producer of fresh-crop chipping potatoes. Read about his journey.
Preliminary and Final Plan
The first step in creating a plan is compiling everyone’s goals to determine common objectives. For the Rovey family of Arizona that meant growing their dairy operation to a size that would allow the next generation to return to the farm. Read their story.
During the planning stage, it’s important to work with a qualified team of advisers to identify any holes in the plan. The Moes family had to update several of their outdated agreements. Read their story.
Ownership transition happens in many forms. Despite two tough years, the Esther brothers are thriving as farm partners. Learn how their three-year succession planning journey is unfolding.
The future won’t become a reality without financial security. Determining how disability, life and long-term care insurance fit into the picture depends on your individual needs. Learn more about how to protect your financial security and how to calculate necessary coverage.
Family dynamics change and businesses grow. When reviewing your succession plan each year, make sure it still enhances the integrity of the operation, provides financial security for the family and prepares the next generation to lead. Learn how strategic management and planning can keep you on track.