Farm Succession and Transition Planning
Why is succession planning a priority?
Huron County is the most agriculturally productive County in Ontario, with 2,564 farms controlling total capital assets of over $12.2 billion. Yet only 14% of farm families have a written succession plan. That leaves over $10.3 billion dollars of capital unprotected by written multi-generational agreements. With the median age of farm operators being 57 years of age, this leaves Huron’s top sector in a vulnerable position.
Farm succession planning has been noted as a top stressor in multi-generational farm families. Stressors include:
- Loss of control
- Fear of failure
- Loss of purpose
- Loss of wealth
- Family friction
However, as families procrastinate and avoid succession planning, these fears become a reality. A transition plan, where the current generation can step back but not step out, helps give founders and the next gen farmers a clear path forward; a sense of security creating certainty around transition. It allows the farm family to move away from anxiety and overwhelm enabling them to chart a harmonious path forward to sustainability and increased profitability. Asking powerful questions about what you want for the next chapter of your farm will help you reach your goals.
Finding Fairness in Farm Transition
Farm succession is a tough topic, but it is vital.
In November 2023, we welcomed Elaine Froese, Canada’s Farm Whisperer, to Huron County for her famous one-day workshop: Finding Fairness in Farm Transition. Through this workshop, Elaine gave attendees tips and pointers for successfully working through the ‘undiscussable.’ Elaine is the go-to expert for farm families who want better communication and conflict resolution to secure a successful farm transition.
Don’t miss this chance to see Canada’s Farm Whisperer again for the upcoming “Entitlement vs. Fairness in Farm Transition” webinar on Thursday, February 29 from 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm. The session will be followed by a Q&A session with Elaine. Click here for tickets.
Entitlement vs. Fairness in Farm Transition Workshop:
Entitlement is defined as a person’s belief they are inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
Dr. Moira Somers, a financial psychologist says “Money is personal”. Few dynamics are harder to manage on the family farm than an entitled sibling who sees increasing land values and misinterprets land value as cash in the bank.
This 1 hour webinar with Elaine Froese creates mindset shifts to learn how to respectfully, yet assertively, attack the issue and not the people. Conflict communication tools to navigate harmful and hurtful assumptions, and develop a path forward to create more trust, empathy and understanding. Develop a buyout business plan that works to communicate the long-term vision of the farm, and expose inequity of siblings who do not contribute to the success of the farm business.
This webinar helps folks to re-write money scripts and shift unsupported entitlement to a willingness to navigate reasonable and unreasonable transition expectations. One of the key questions is “What does money mean to you ?” and “What is enough ?” Learning “wish fulfillment language” such as “I wish I could…but the reality is…” is helpful.
Tickets: $25.00 each. Tickets include 2 complimentary e-books (one at the time of purchase; the other after the webinar).
Throughout the webinar, Elaine will answer questions sent in anonymously via text or in the Zoom group chat. Following the presentation, there will also be a Q&A period with Elaine.
Click here to register for the “Entitlement vs. Fairness in Farm Transition” webinar! Register here.
Need help purchasing tickets? Contact 519-524-8394 x 6 for support.
Farm Transition Planning – Educational Resources
See below for various podcast collections that can help you start or continue thinking about the future of your farm.
Huron County's Life on the Coast
Welcome to Huron County’s Life on the Coast… a podcast about topics of importance and interest in Huron County. The first series on the podcast will focus on the topic of farm succession planning and will touch on why it’s a critical priority, what happens if farms don’t have succession plans in place, and we get the perspective from the founders, in-laws, and the next generation.
Farm Family Harmony Podcast
Get personal with Elaine Froese, Canada’s Farm Whisperer, in Farm Family Harmony, where no farm topic is taboo! Whether it’s which sibling gets the family farm, or when it’s time to tell Mom and Dad to respectfully change roles, Elaine covers the crucial conversations every farm family needs to have.
Farm Succession Planning Playlist
See below for various resources from credible sources that can support a successful farm transition.
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
Visit the OMAFRA website to learn about the importance of farm succession planning and how to create a succession plan for your farm. This information is for commercial livestock and crop farmers in Ontario.
Farm Credit Canada
FCC Advisory Services is a complementary program designed to help farm families gain clarity, identify goals and determine the next steps in their transition journey.
Their national team of Business Advisors is here to listen and ask the important questions. They can help you start the conversation, define goals and intentions, eliminate barriers and explore options.
Visit the Farm Credit Canada website for articles, videos and more to set you up for success.
Scotiabank’s Agricultural Banking Specialists utilize a ‘generational perspective’ tailoring a customized succession plan that encompasses business transition, financial planning, estate and trust planning, investment management, income, and asset protection. They work collaboratively with client’s lawyers and accounts, to ensure a fair transition of management, ownership, and labor needs.
Libro Credit Union
Libro’s Financial Planners support the succession, and transition of your farm, while working alongside other team members, such as lawyers, accountants, account managers, and lenders. With Libro’s guidance, clients are supported when making decisions about succession, future income, determining a place of residence as well as other aspects of farm succession.
BDO offers services that go beyond tax support and year-end financial reports. Their specialized team offers long-term solutions that help families focus on a long-term plan of success, adapting to change, and assistance in dealing with complicated tax problems. They strive to support the continuous improvement of your farm investment.
- Farm Transition – Young Agrarians
- A growing number of Canadian farmers have no succession plan | Canada’s National Observer: News & Analysis
- Why farm succession planning is so important – FBC
- Farm succession — minus the success – Country Guide (country-guide.ca)
- Your farm succession plan isn’t complete until it exists in writing | MNP
- Greying acres: A modern guide to farm succession – BNN Bloomberg
- Farm Ownership Transfer Taxation | CFA-FCA
- Opening Books and Minds: Astute Farm Succession Planning (farmlifefinancial.ca)
- Planning the succession or transfer of a farm or agribusiness | National Bank (nbc.ca)
- Succession plans: address the underlying issues – Grainews
- More than 40% of farm operators to retire by 2033: report | Financial Post
- The Farm Succession Crisis – Ontario Farmland Trust
- RBC Succession Planning Guide
Please Note: The views and opinions represented in these resources are not necessarily the views of the Province of Ontario or the County of Huron. They are meant to inspire thought and conversation around the topic of farm succession.
Guest Speaker: Elaine Froese, Canada’s Farm Whisperer
Elaine Froese (pronounced ‘phrase’), CSP is a certified professional speaker, certified coach, and author. She’s a go-to expert for farm families who want better communication and conflict resolution to secure a successful farm transition.
- As a farmer and mother to the successor of their farm, she understands the culture of agriculture intimately.
- Her superpower is helping families find harmony through understanding.
- Her expertise is to discuss what she calls the Undiscussabull™ – the bull in the middle of the farm family that no one wants to talk about.
- She is an award-winning author who’s written 5 books over the past 25 years.
- Elaine will not give tax advice as Elaine is not an accountant. She’ll help you with more tools for finding harmony in communication and conflict resolution.
- Elaine’s passion is to share simple, practical and actionable tools with farm families so they can talk about tough issues and get traction in their farm transition. Her topics are a catalyst to courageous conversations and conflict resolution. Expect her to WOW audience by bringing clarity with workable and practical tools.
- She’s on a mission to guide farm families, across North America, to get unstuck, communicate better, find harmony through understanding, and secure a profitable farm legacy. Elaine’s goal is for everyone to be rich in relationships.
Copies of Elaine’s books, Farm Family Coach Insights and Farming’s In-Law Factor can be found at the Huron County Library.
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57 Napier Street,
Goderich, ON N7A 1W2
+1 (519) 524-8394 ext.6