~~I am speaking at an event in Nevada, Iowa today on succession planning along with Jolene Brown. Jolene and her husband farm in SE Iowa but she also does seminars on succession planning for farmers and small businesses all over the country. One of her first slides had the audience ask the following questions:
•What? - Do the existing owners really want the business to continue? Most farm families assume this question is "Yes". But is it really the desire of the current owners? This needs to be asked.
•When? - Will the transition happen during your lifetime? Will it include management, leadership, or ownership. Each of these need to be addressed.
•Who? - Is the transition of the farm to family members? Are there other options when family members are not interested?
Any successful family farm transition will answer these three questions. If they are not answered or not communicated directly, the transfer will likely fail.