May 27, 2022

Succession Planning - Your Farm or Ranch Legacy

“It's what you leave behind you when you go.”

- Country singer, Randy Travis

What's top of mind?

The future of your farm or ranch.

Farm succession planning is the process of passing on the ownership of your farm to another person — often to the next generation of your family.

Sounds important?

It is. Especially if you’ve given your heart and soul to your operation.

So what should I put in a succession plan?

Your land, equipment, who has equity and your retirement plan. It can be a reflective time when you think about your personal legacy, selling your farm or handing over control to family members. An effective succession plan can set you on a solid retirement path and set the next generation up for success.

'Bout time I make one I s’pose.

We got your back. See the list below for how to start navigating the complexity of succession planning on your farm or ranch.

This week's farm prosperity checklist:

✅ Take inventory of “your stuff”

Prior to beginning your planting, make sure the tractor, planter and all related planting equipment and tools are safe and ready to use:

✅ Have a heart to heart with your family to minimize misunderstandings

How your assets are owned, their value and what debts remain is vital info. Check out Iowa State University’s “Evaluating Your Estate Plan: Estate Planning Questionnaire” to help.

✅ Have a contingency plan

Consider the "what if" possibilities: What if the beneficiary is not interested, retires or is otherwise incapacitated to inherit? What if a partnership dissolves so farm ownership is split?

✅ Document it in writing and update OFTEN

This cannot be emphasized enough because we’ve seen important info lost due to lack of documentation. Make a detailed timeline of who will inherit which assets and the process for the transfer. As your operation ebbs and flows, adjust the phased approach of your succession plan to match.

Check out this comprehensive list of state extension services and guides related to farm succession planning.

Do you have a succession plan survey results: 50% of farmers say yes

This week's survey results are in:

Great job to those of you with a succession plan! Keep having those open and honest dialogues with everyone included in your plan. It's a vital step!

Succession planning can undoubtedly be overwhelming, but your chosen beneficiaries may be able to inherit a stable operation because your plan was thoughtfully constructed and adaptable to a multitude of changes.

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