Preparing to Transition the Family Farm

The future prosperity of the family farm requires transition and succession planning. The retiring generation needs to think about their legacy and how they will manage financially. Succession planning must also looks at the expectations of the next generation, particularly around transferring authority and financial management. It’s important to plan now, before something unexpected happens and the farm suffers as a result.
 
Sometimes, the retiring generation hangs on because they fear the unknown or that they won’t be needed. But the next generation will want extra hands to help out, especially in the busy seasons, and will always benefit from experience and support. Start by thinking about how to mentor the next generation.  Then consider what the farm will look like in three years’ time if the major responsibilities for running the farm are passed along to them. 
 
The succeeding generation needs to earn the responsibility of managing the operation and they can begin by taking on a junior management role. The retiring generation can continue to add responsibilities over time and mentor the younger generation as the transitions take place. The younger generation can also begin to see their management strengths and weaknesses and address the areas needing improvement through training or courses. 
 
Manitoba Agriculture's Transition Planning Guide will help farmers manage transition and plan for a profitable future.  The guide helps assess the operation’s readiness for transition, make a plan and implement the changes. There are several options, so the approach best suited for an operation can be chosen. The department’s farm management specialists can also provide support and advice for successful transition planning. For more details, contact your local GO office.