Beat the Odds: Keep Your Farm, Family Together

December 7, 2018 01:55 PM
Beat the Odds: Keep Your Farm, Family Together

Attend a succession planning conference Jan. 14-15 in Chicago

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.

Family businesses often struggle with the difference between succession planning and estate planning, says Dick Wittman, succession planning and financial management consultant in Culdesac, Idaho. 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 Conference on Jan. 14-15, 2019, in Chicago. 

Legacy Conference

Event Details:

Legacy Conference

Jan. 14-15, 2019

Hilton Chicago Hotel Downtown
720 South Michigan Avenue 
Chicago, IL 60605

Register now!

Early-Bird Pricing: $249 (Through Dec. 14)
Regular Pricing: $349 (Starting Dec. 15)

View the agenda.


  • Dick Wittman, Wittman Consulting
  • Polly Dobbs, Dobbs Legal Group
  • Paul Neiffer, CliftonLarsonAllen
  • Rena Striegel, Transition Point Business Advisors

The Legacy Conference is part of the Top Producer Summit, which also includes Top Producer Seminar, Tomorrow’s Top Producer and Executive Women in Agriculture. Maximize your time and money by attending multiple events to receive discounts on registration fees. 

Top Producer Summit


Register now!

Thanks to our Legacy Conference Sponsors!

  • CliftonLarsonAllen
  • Lincoln Financial Advisors
  • Transition Point Business Advisors 
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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.

New York, NY
4/30/2019 11:13 AM

  Well, it is ancient history now, however it is true that unfortunately those who will not become aware of history are at doomed to repeat it.


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