PHOENIX– Farm succession planning is complex and requires careful thought, according to Roger McEowen, Washburn University School of Law. He addressed workshop attendees at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2017 Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show in Phoenix. 

Top things to consider are whether or not you want to keep your farm going and what needs to be done to prepare your family for you not being there, according to McEowen. 

Montana Farm Bureau members Kenny and Kathy Hanson, found the workshop to be valuable.

“He suggested starting your planning one-on-one with each family member who will be involved,” noted Kathy Hanson. Too often, poor communication among family members is a major stumbling block when the subject of succession planning arises. In addition, the mixed roles of family members on the farm or ranch, diverse personalities, generational differences and gender differences all play a role and must be considered 

“There was discussion on the different entities to put your farm and ranch business into, and how to use gifts, leases and sales as succession tools,” said Hanson, who ranches in Melville. “They also covered plans to reduce risk.” 

Possible marital changes down the road, the need to protect business assets and navigating family conflicts are among the many challenges anyone considering farm succession planning must face head on. If the farm business is to continue, whether or not it is profitable enough to ensure a future for family members must be considered.