Succession Planning


Farm Succession Planning

$250 / month (minimum 3 month purchase)

SKU: 004 Category:

What is Succession Planning?

Succession Planning is a process, not an event, for identifying and mentoring family members with the potential and desire to assume key farming and business leadership responsibilities of the family farm.  Succession planning prepares the next generation of farmers in farming techniques and management skills so that trusted family members are prepared to assume responsible roles as they become available.  Succession Planning ensures the farm business continues to operate smoothly after those currently in control, parents, retire or pass away.

Succession Planning as a Process

Succession Planning requires an evaluation of each potential successor’s skills and interest in the farm.  The current generation must mentor the succeeding generation so that they are ready to assume responsibility when the Succession Plan is implemented.  Succession Planning, being a process, requires the plan to be re-evaluated and likely updated annually or at least when changes in the farming operation or family dictate.  Family farms are advised to create both an emergency Succession Plan, should an existing key family member need to be replaced unexpectedly, and a long-term Succession Plan for planned changes in management or leadership.

The Importance of Succession Planning

Succession Planning must be done by the succeeding generation, likely the owner.  The use of professional advisors is critical but because only the farm owner can answer “What’s Important to You”, professional advisors must guide, not lead, the process.

Most farm business owners struggle (and at times avoid) succession planning simply because they don’t know where to start. It can be especially challenging for those families who have farmed their land for generations and are now unsure if the next generation wants to farm.

While each farm family is unique in their own way, there are several elements that most farm families want to consider when developing a succession plan. These elements are:

  1. A Retirement Strategy
  2. Estate and Financial Plans
  3. A Process for Transferring to the Next Generation
  4. The Ideal Business Structure

The Succession Planning Course

The Succession Planning Course provides participants with an understanding of the Succession Planning process that will clearly distinguish operational and management responsibilities of the farm from ownership and control of farm and non-farm property. The Course will also address the common issues that typically arise when building a succession plan, such as: communication, the impact on farm finances, how to deal with the non-farming children in the family, and divorce or death within the family.

Participants will become familiar with an Eight Step Process of Succession Planning that involves consultation with experienced professional advisors as necessary. These eight steps of a Farm Succession Plan include:

  1. Data Collection
  2. Review of Critical Issues
  3. Set Goals
  4. Become Familiar with Estate Planning Tools
  5. Discuss Data and Goals with Professional Advisors
  6. Identify Options and Discuss
  7. Choose Best Option
  8. Create Action Plan

Worksheet #1:

Data Gathering

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Worksheet #2:

Asset Valuation

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Worksheet #3:

Goals and Objectives

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Worksheet #4:

Personal Goals

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Worksheet #5:

Farm Business Goals

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Worksheet #6:

Succession Plan Development

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Worksheet #7:

Succession Plan Implementation

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Worksheet #8:

Decision Making

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Worksheet #9:

Family Agreements

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Worksheet #10:

Tax Planning

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Worksheet #11:

Contingency Planning

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Worksheet #12:

Farm Successor Identification

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Worksheet #13:

Option Analysis Budget

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Worksheet #14:

Joint Venture Income Allocation

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Worksheet #15:

Exit Strategy

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Worksheet #16:

Financial Viability

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Worksheet #17:

Retirement Planning

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Worksheet #18:

Estate Planning

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In order to successfully pass each module, the participant must:

  1. Receive a passing grade of >60% on the module quiz
  2. Spend adequate time reviewing all online content (approx. 5-15 hours)
  3. Fill out all 18 worksheets

SKU: 004