How to Pass on the Farming Legacy to the Next Generation

How to Pass on the Farming Legacy to the Next Generation

During June, we celebrate the achievements and potential of the youth in our country, especially in the agricultural sector. Farming is not only a livelihood, but also a legacy that can be passed on from generation to generation. However, this process of succession is not always easy or smooth. It requires careful planning, communication, and mutual respect between the current and future farmers.

With this in mind, we will share some tips and insights from an article, originally published in Grain SA’s Pula Imvula, and written by Gavin Mathews, a farmer with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management. Mathews has been involved in farming since he was a child and learned a lot from his father and grandfather. He believes that succession is the continuance of your business in a sustainable manner into the future through your next generation.

Tip 1: Start early and involve your family

One of the most important steps in succession planning is to start early and involve your family members who are interested in farming. Mathews advises that you should take your children out on the farm with you and explain to them why you do what you do. Teach them to respect nature and the importance of using it wisely to feed the population. This way, you can instil an interest and passion for agriculture in them from a young age.

However, you should also be respectful of their choices and preferences. Don’t force them to farm if they have other aspirations or talents. Rather, look for someone who really wants to farm, whether it is a family member or not. The key is to find someone who shares your vision and values for your business.

Tip 2: Establish clear roles and responsibilities

Another crucial step in succession planning is to establish clear roles and responsibilities for each family member who is involved in the business. Mathews suggests that you should strategize and plan where each individual will bring the most value to the operation. Everyone has different strengths and skills, and you should identify them and assign them accordingly.

For example, one person may be good at managing finances, another may be good at marketing, and another may be good at production. By dividing the tasks and duties among your family members, you can create a harmonious work environment where everyone can get along and contribute to the success of the business.

Tip 3: Be open to new ideas and technologies

The third tip that Mathews offers is to be open to new ideas and technologies that may take your business to the next level. As the head of the business, you may have worked very hard for many years to establish a successful operation, but you should also be willing to let go of the reins when your successors enter the setup.

Mathews advises that you should be a good listener and mentor to your successors. You should be open to their suggestions and opinions, and if they present a valid idea, don’t be afraid to implement it. This shows trust in their abilities and encourages innovation and creativity.

At the same time, you should also be firm in teaching and mentoring them the tried and tested ways of doing things. You should share your knowledge and experience with them and help them overcome any challenges they may face along the way. It all comes down to give and take and building a level of mutual respect and trust.

Tip 4: Have a formal succession plan

The final tip that Mathews gives is to have a formal succession plan that outlines the details of how your business will be transferred to your successors. This plan should include aspects such as ownership structure, management structure, financial arrangements, legal agreements, tax implications, insurance policies, retirement plans, etc.

Having a formal succession plan will help you avoid any conflicts or misunderstandings that may arise during or after the transition process. It will also help you ensure that your business continues in a sustainable manner into the future through your next generation.

Mathews concludes his article by saying that succession in agriculture is very important as knowledge needs to be passed on through the generations. He says that by passing on the baton in a loving manner, your legacy is sure to live on through your successors.

We hope that this article has inspired you to think about succession planning for your own farming business. If you need any assistance or guidance on this matter, please feel free to contact us at SerDev. We are here to help you achieve your agricultural goals and dreams.Happy Youth Day! 🇿🇦



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