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Bubbles of farm succession ideas Illustration by Jon Krause

Let’s talk about the future: Last in a series

Ideas to make your strategic planning a success.

In parts one and two of this series we shared how one Indiana family struggled to come up with a succession plan for the family farm. We also offered tips on how to move that process along.

Check out Part 1. Don't miss Part 2

Here, we want to share some ideas to help you develop your farm’s strategic plan – something you should already have in place as you develop the succession, or transition plan.

According to Idaho rancher and planning expert Dick Wittman, consider including these materials when holding a strategic planning session:

  • copies of previous strategic planning session summaries that can serve as a baseline for updating discussions
  • past analyses of external environmental conditions (economic, political, environmental, farm policy, etc.)
  • analysis of business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT — if this was done in previous planning sessions, current session could re-examine past SWOTs and update input)
  • management assessment of governance elements and items needing attention (mission, vision, values, policy framework, organization and roles, planning, HR and evaluations, reporting processes, etc.)
  • background on current financial position and trends (It works best when this can be accomplished in a prior session, so the strategic planning discussions don’t become diluted with complex debates on finances.)
  • background on business baselines in each strategic area (This could include an in-depth discussion of previous goals set, strategies defined and progress made on strategic initiatives.)

Dick Wittman, Idaho rancher and transition planning expert, will offer succession planning advice at the upcoming Farm Futures Business Summit, Jan. 18-19 at Coralville, Iowa.

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