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Start a farm legacy transition with 3 questions

To make your farm business transition work, you need to be clear on what you really want. Answer these questions as a start.

As you listen to farm family business transition consultants, they all agree on some basics. To be successful, you need to make a plan. Figure out where you want to be. Assess where you are. And clarify the next steps to get from here to the goal.

Here are three great questions to help start this process:

-What do the existing owners really want for the business? Continue as is? Expand to support transition? Shrink to reduce leverage? Most farm families assume that the operation "must" continue and probably grow. But is it really the desire of the current owners . . . and the successors?

-When will the transition happen? During your lifetime? Will you transition management, leadership, and ownership at the same time? Or, will you phase in changes on separate schedules?

-Whose transition is it? Is the transition of the farm to family members? Is it driven by the senior generation or by the junior generation? Are there other options when family members are not interested?

Answer these questions on your own. Ask your trusted family members to answer these questions independently. Then take time to talk about ALL the answers. You might be surprised what you learn.

If this blog has got you thinking about your own situation, get in touch with my office ([email protected]).

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

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