Transitioning Your Farm to the Next Generation is Easy

After owning and operating your farm for years, the thought of handing it down to someone else can be scary — even if they’re family. Farm succession from one generation to the next is a big deal.

To make sure you’re doing everything right, you need a plan in place.

If you’re ready to start planning how you’ll manage your legacy, check out these industry tips to make sure your transition goes smoothly.

Educate yourself

The average city slicker might view farming life to be low-key compared to the rat race, but that’s just because they don’t know how much paperwork goes into running an agri-business.

Between daily accounting, filing for taxes, and planning for the future, there’s a lot to do. Planning for a farm succession only adds work to your plate.

Transitioning a farm is a massive undertaking. To make sure you approach it with your best foot forward, you should take some time getting to know what it entails.

There’s no harm in knowing too much, so make sure you:

  • Read up on the subject online and in farm publications
  • Talk to other farmers you know who have done it
  • Get familiar with your finances— your unique capital assets have an effect on the transition

These three steps will help you approach your transition with greater confidence.

Make sure you announce your plans early

You know as well as anyone that working on a farm without knowing what the future holds can be stressful. But levels of high anxiety aren’t reserved for the owner. Even young farmers can feel worried if they aren’t sure about where they fit into your plans.

It doesn’t matter if they’re family members or hired workers. If they’ve been working with you for five years or 15 years. They might leave if they don’t see a future with you.

Be open with your plans, explaining your expectations for the transition — including things like who will take over and when. Words count, but a written agreement means even more.

Don’t go it alone

Once you start getting things in writing, you’re entering what may be unfamiliar territory. It can be intimidating to wade through the legalities and financial realities of transitioning your farm.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, get in contact with an expert who specializes in agri-businesses. This is a big decision. You need to find someone you trust to have your interest at heart.

To make sure you find someone who puts your needs first, research what rural credit unions can do. Rural credit unions focus on farm owners. They cater to your unique needs, no matter how big or small your farm may be.

Some credit unions offer the typical agricultural banking services you need, plus all the usual daily banking products you expect from the biggest commercial banks. To get a feel for what that looks like, stop by Chinookfinancial.com and see how a credit union can balance both priorities.

When you find a credit union that takes a small-town approach to modern-day baking, you’ll be in good hands. This special touch can help you develop a legacy plan that fits your needs.

Transitioning your farm will take a lot of work — there’s no doubt. But you can make your job easier when you plan accordingly. A well-developed farm succession plan can make sure you pass on your legacy from one generation to the next.

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