In the agriculture business, families are the lifeblood. With all the hype and holler going on in the media about big companies taking over the industry, the family-owned and operated farm is still at the heart of agriculture. Still, there is cause for concern among growers, because research shows that only 30 percent of family-owned farms will successfully pass their ag operation down to their children.
There are three essential steps that will mean success or failure when it comes to passing your farm down to the next generation: Analysis, Planning, and Action.
STEP ONE: ANALYSIS
This step might seem simple, and the first mistake that’s made is that it gets skipped. Don’t fall into the temptation to skip this step! You must sit down and discover whether the business is (or will be) ready for succession.
A detailed analysis of the ag operation’s past performance and current financial position must be made. Also, an analysis of the relationship between the current owner and successor must be made. Current goals of the farm, as well as lifestyle and cultural values must be discussed and agreed upon by the parties involved.
When a proper analysis is done, you can move on to step two with a solid foundation for success. In my next column, I’ll discuss steps two and three of succession planning.
column by STEVEN E. CRISMAN
BIO: Steven Crisman is the managing partner of Cross, Fernandez & Riley, LLP’s (C/F/R) Winter Haven office and leads their Agriculture Practice Group. He primarily serves the agriculture, manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution industries. He has specific experience with citrus growers, cattle ranchers, citrus and other horticultural nurseries, citrus harvesters and other support industries as well as watermelon, blueberry and other growers. In addition, Steve provides comprehensive tax and estate planning, attestation and business succession planning services.