Succession planning in family farms in England is a complex and challenging issue that has been extensively researched in recent years. Despite the importance of this issue, there is evidence to suggest that the older generation of farmers is reluctant to engage in succession planning. In this blog, we will examine the reasons behind this reluctance, drawing on both research and real-life case studies.
One of the main reasons for the reluctance of older farmers to engage in succession planning is a lack of understanding about the process. Many farmers believe that succession planning is only necessary for larger, corporate farms and do not see the need for it in their own operations. However, research has shown that family farms are just as likely to face succession challenges as larger operations and that a failure to plan can result in significant consequences for the future of the farm and the family.
Another reason for the reluctance of older farmers to engage in succession planning is a lack of trust in the next generation. This can stem from a belief that the next generation is not capable of running the farm, or that they do not share the same values and vision for the operation. Research has shown that this lack of trust can be a significant barrier to successful succession and that it is important for families to work through these issues before a transition occurs.
One of the most challenging aspects of succession planning is the difficulty of addressing financial and legal issues. Older farmers may be reluctant to engage in this aspect of the process due to a lack of financial expertise, a fear of losing control, or a belief that these issues are too complex to handle. However, research has shown that these issues must be addressed if succession is to be successful.
It is common to see that when the older generation of the family had not engaged in succession planning, the farm is left to decline as the next generation was not equipped to take over. This resulted in the sale of the farm and the loss of a valuable piece of land to the family.
In conclusion, the reluctance of older farmers to engage in succession planning is a complex and challenging issue that requires a multi-faceted approach. A lack of understanding, trust, and expertise can all be barriers to success. It is important for family farms to take succession planning seriously, as failure to do so can result in significant consequences for the future of the farm and the family.