Planning sucession

Planning sucession


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After conversations at Barnawartha last Thursday, it became apparent the vast difference in seasons.

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While attending the monthly store sale of Corcoran Parker, Elders, and Landmark, at Wodonga’s Barnawartha NVLX complex, it became apparent to me, the big divide in seasonal conditions between the north and the southern states.

Wodonga agents advertised 3000 head for this sale, and while it had been five weeks since their last sale, numbers received totalled 4259 head.

Reading the pen cards, it was obvious the large number that were consigned from the dry areas of New South Wales, as producers market stock because of the distinct lack of grass.

Day out: Some of the Heywood 
family at Barnawartha, Thursday. 
Bonnie (left), Lachie, Sally, Brodie, 
Lincoln, Claire, Riley and Neil.

Day out: Some of the Heywood family at Barnawartha, Thursday. Bonnie (left), Lachie, Sally, Brodie, Lincoln, Claire, Riley and Neil.

One producer, who was not selling, said he has had two massive crops fail, one not coming up at all, and the other failing due to frosts and then lack of rain. He said what his costs have been, and I will go into this scenario later on.

South of Holbrook, NSW, there has been rain and pastures are green, more rain further south, and better conditions occur.

Then you reach the border, and further south, where abundant rain has created a very good start to spring. With the exception of east Gippsland, Victoria and the south east of South Australia are experiencing a very good season too.

My only comment would be that just as well the southern areas of Australia are good. If this part of the country was also dry, heaven help producers Australia wide.

Consider the warmth currently generated by a northerly wind blowing into Victoria, and one could be concerned about summer temperatures, and dry conditions.

If a very hot and dry summer occurs, some say this needs to happen for the normal monsoon season to dump rain in northern Australia.

Now, let me take into consideration my earlier comments of failed crops and heavy associated costs.

I had a brief conversation with a retired producer, and the topic was how the next generation cannot afford to purchase the farm they are currently operating.

How often do i hear of a farm being sold to provide the money for mum and dad’s superannuation. Some of this dilemma stems from siblings who are entitled to a share of the farm later in live, and the son, or daughter currently farming, cannot afford to buy, or pay out siblings.

I know of instances where the patriarch has made a decision and left the farm to one running the property, and other siblings have disputed the will, when a passing has occurred.

So how does a farmer, parent, or parents, plan a successful succession plan? I can tell you that I am no expert here, but sitting family down and having an in-depth discussion would be a very good start.

In many cases, farming has been life for a family for most of their life, and for some, spanning three or more than three generations.

I lay no blame here, but have experienced a father’s decision to make a will that left a daughter less encumbered. However, this was all sorted prior to the father’s passing.

For myself, my parents’ will was equally divided among five, and everything was amicable as we knew prior to the event.

However, when the older generation need to fund their retirement, for some it means selling the family farm. Life is what it is, but if you can, work now on a succession plan.

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