Succession is a sensitive but often-ignored subject for many farming families. Farmers were warned last week at the Morayshire Monitor Farm meeting that ignoring the topic could put their life’s work at risk.
The Monitor Farm group met on Tuesday 4th December 2018 to tackle the issue together, helped by expert Heather Wildman of Saviour Associates.
Iain Green farms in partnership with his mother and father at Corskie Farm near Elgin and hosts the Morayshire Monitor Farm.
He said: “We wanted to look at succession planning because I think it’s something quite important that possibly a lot of farming families tend to ignore, perhaps sadly until it’s too late or they haven’t done anything early enough."
Iain counts himself lucky that his own father and grandfather involved him in the business from a young age, and he wants to do the same for his daughters.
At the meeting, Heather Wildman gave her challenging, down-to-earth advice for farming families wanting to start tackling their succession.
“We only live once,” Heather reminded the group. “What are your dreams? What is the legacy you want to leave?”
She encouraged everyone to have personal and business goals in writing, shared with the rest of the family. Farmers should then calculate finances needed for retirement; and make sure that legal documentation like power of attorney is in place.
“Power of attorney is vital for every partner in the business, not just the older generations,” Heather said.
For Iain, Corskie’s business goals are now clear and everybody in the partnership knows them.
“We want to carry on with the family farming partnership, to maintain it profitably and look for any opportunities for expansion or diversification. Also, any partners in the business should be active within the partnership.”
The final step for Iain and his family is to tie down the legal details, with the help of qualified legal advisors.
For further support on succession farmers should contact a legal professional or advice group such as RSABI.
The Morayshire Monitor Farm is one of nine monitor farms established in Scotland as part of a joint initiative by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds with funding from the Scottish Government. The aim of the Monitor Farm programme is to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.
For more information about the monitor farm programme visit www.monitorfarms.co.uk