Will Your Farm Make It to the Third Generation? Odds Say No

November 17, 2015 12:58 PM
Will Your Farm Make It to the Third Generation? Odds Say No

Succession planning workshop for farmers on Dec. 8 in McKinney, Texas

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. 8, in McKinney, Texas.

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:

Tuesday, December 8

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites McKinney-Fairview
3220 Craig Drive
McKinney, TX 75070


Dick Wittman, Wittman Consulting

Randy Netek, CPA, Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

Shannon L. Ferrell, Associate Professor, Ag Law, Oklahoma State University 

Click here to see the event agenda and register today!

Back to news



Spell Check

Marshall, MN
6/20/2015 11:17 AM

  I feel very grateful that I am the 6th generation on my family farm. I wish other families could be so fortunate.

Western, NE
6/21/2015 12:52 PM

  I'm the 3rd generation in my family farm married to the farmer's daughter of another 3rd generation farm. Sounds like a song!! LOL! When I see farms handed down to the next generation, there is a loss in financial or mechanical acumen. Sometimes both. The want for "toys" is also a problem. When you're looking to pass to the next generation, do your homework. Avoid the pitfalls attorneys sometimes place on the transferring generation that all offspring must be treated equal. Make sure the next generation wants to farm. It could be that you have no offspring that wants to farm. Communication is important. Sometimes I wonder if saddling a farm on an individual isn't abuse in today's society. Production agriculture is the only occupation that I know where society doesn't give a damn if you make enough money to live on. You just have to make sure that they have enough to eat, waste and not share at a cost that they want to afford.

Singapore, WA
6/23/2015 06:28 AM

  What is the future of global food & agribusiness industry? Youngsters are shunning agbiz. There's a crisis brewing particularly when it comes to succession planning. Who is going to feed us in the next 15, 20 years from now? https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/part-5-hey-ag-whats-your-pension-plan-raghavan-sampathkumar?_mSplash=1


Corn College TV Education Series


Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!


Market Data provided by QTInfo.com
Brought to you by Beyer