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Chapter 1: Succession Basics

The following resources will help familiarize you with the variable and complex array of decisions and documents that make up a farm succession plan. For example, how do you know if you are ready to begin? (Tip—very few families ever feel “ready;” so don’t let that stop you.) It is also important to recognize the positions of the various stakeholders in the process: for example, the senior or retiring generation has different needs and goals than the next-generation farmer; and the needs of off-farm heirs, though not relevant to every aspect of farm management and succession, may have significant influence on how things turn out.

A written plan and its accompanying legal documents are the desired outcomes of this process. The process itself cannot succeed, however, without considerable attention to honest and respectful family communication—including effective family and business meetings. While the remainder of this Guidebook will provide you with tools for in-depth estate, business, retirement and communication needs, this introductory chapter of basics includes worksheets and surveys to help get you and your family members literally “on the same page.” Good luck!

– Kendra Johnson, Farm Preservation Consultant

  1. Farm Succession Planning Steps and Checklist, C. Wenger, OMAFRA, 2010
  2. Farm Succession—Do’s and Don’ts, P. Coughler, OMAFRA, 2008
  3. Components of a Farm Succession Plan, P. Coughler, OMAFRA, 2010
  4. Transferring Your Farm or Ranch for the Next Generation, M. Goetting et al, MSU Extension, 2012
  5. Succession Planning Guide for Food Processing & Agriculture Businesses, Moss-Adams LLP, 2012
  6. Farm Planning Process Diagram
  7. Farm Transfer and Community Development, Land for Good, 2007
  8. Farm Succession Homework for Families, California FarmLink, 2012
  9. Goals: My Wants and Hopes for our Farm Operation, Senior Generation, California FarmLink, 2012
  10. Goals: My Hopes and Wants for our Farm Operation, Second Generation, California FarmLink, 2012
  11. Glossary for Succession Planning, R. Carter, NCFC Business Consulting
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