WHILE many farm families might see succession planning as a challenge, addressing it has big benefits – and not just for relationships.
Harvard Business School of Management research shows businesses that have a sound succession plan are up to 25 per cent more profitable.
"This is the opportunity available to every business in agriculture," said Isobel Knight, director of succession planning specialists ProAgtive.
"I don't think there is anything else in Australian agriculture that you can do out in the paddock that will give you that productivity lift."
This week, ProAgtive teams up with Stock & Land to support a special feature, which aims to educate readers on what to consider when approaching succession planning with
their families (pick up a copy of Stock & Land today).
With the average age of Australian farmers about 58 – 18 years above the national average for other occupations – and a labour crisis looming, the destructive impact facing Australian agricultural production due to failed successions is real.
"Succession planning is pivotal – it is not easy, if it was easy everybody would be doing it," Mrs Knight said.
"If something happened to you as the business owner tomorrow, do you have a contingency plan?"
Too often, it took a crisis – such as an illness or relationship breakdown – for a family to initiate succession planning.
But Mrs Knight said it was far better to communicate to your family and employees when alive and healthy.
"People are shirking it (succession planning) rather than gritting their teeth and rolling up their sleeves and getting on with it, like any other job they have to do on-the-farm," Mrs Knight said.
"The next generation have an enormous contribution to make. When their strengths are understood and combined with the older generation's experience and knowledge, it is a powerful combination which is the edge family businesses can have."
Get advice online tomorrow - and get involved
Passing on the farm to the next generation is plagued with challenges and questions.
An expert panel of professionals will be on the Stock & Land website tomorrow (September 26) to respond to your questions about all succession.
Questions such as how to transition management, how to improve productivity, how does succession occur and even who takes over the mortgage and funding of the farmer's retirement will be some of the questions tackled.
To give farmers a better understanding of succession planning, five consultants and farmers featured in this Start The Conversation special will be online answering all your questions.
For more information visit the Stock & Land website tomorrow from 2pm to 3pm and start the conversation.
- SPECIAL succession planning feature in this week's edition of the Stock & Land September 25 edition