Agricultural Succession Planning

Farmers must consider how their business will survive when they want to take a step back, invite someone to join the business or an illness halts the farm working as it always has. Succession planning is a huge headache for any business owner, but, with a number of young farmers either wanting to exit the business altogether or not wanting to take on the same type of responsibility this leaves farmers who want a break or exit strategy in an impossible position. Most do not want to just sell up and leave everything they have worked for.

It is therefore essential that proper advice is taken regarding how the future of a farming business will continue to go from strength to strength and with the right partnership or alternative structure put in place.

As family partnerships become increasingly less likely it is essential to explore all options available. For example, joint ventures, which is a very popular solution, whether the family decide to move away from the business and sell the land on, it allow farmers who don’t have the family in the background to gain access to farming land and the business.

All too common succession planning is being looked at far too late making it a very difficult time for all. For example, should it be the case that as a farmer you have no one to take on the property and there is no one who has shown an interest in taking the land on as an opportunity for future farming there are only really a few options available such as selling the farm or letting it with potential licences, or seeking a shared venture through the right contacts.

We also are acutely aware that you cannot always plan for everything, so, disaster planning is absolutely essential. What if the family unit sadly dissolves? Perhaps there is a divorce, or someone becomes injured and they can no longer work? Debts can spiral out of control or there might be a disagreement between siblings or partners. Since so many businesses are family orientated it is worth preparing for these potential eventualities, which hopefully will never happen.

We can put you in touch with the right people to help in these situations and of course time is of the essence. The sooner you plan the better for everyone. The problem is finding the time. We all know how long the hours are and how much time needs to be put into run the business. Another reason to instruct a Solicitor and a team of specialists who will work with you along the way.

The farmers we know are very ambitious in their plans to restructure the business and take advantage of an opportunity. For example, many farmers are looking at what land they can develop for the increasing demand from people who are now working from home, whether offices on a short-term lease or housing. Perhaps even converting farmhouses for rental. Many use their land to have a shop on site.

We tailor all advice to our individual clients and their needs. For further information on how we can support you and your business, email farming@goughs.co.uk