Long leave part of farming

23 Feb, 2005 10:00 PM
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LONG service leave should be part of a farm management plan as a reward for effort.

That's the opinion of Agknowledge principal Peter Cooke, who spoke at last week's Nuffield Farm Beyond Tomorrow seminar.

During a talk on farm succession, Mr Cooke said the concept of long service leave could be a pre-cursor to dad and mum retiring or simply as a well deserved break from farm duties.

The latter would reflect the respect and dignity of the parents.

It was these two characteristics which provided the key to a smooth transition when it came time to change farm management structures.

"Farm succession is a very big issue," he said.

"In our case studies throughout Australia, we have found a lot of farming families are working through management change and farm succession.

"In most cases it can be either a happy succession or a viable succession where perhaps the balance of business needs outweighs the needs of family members.

"But you can achieve both, amicably by respecting family members and acknowledging the dignity of people."

Mr Cooke said that traditionally farm succession starts with the wife and the realisation that things have to change.

"The thing to do when the succession subject comes up is to communicate with all the family members," Mr Cooke said.

"Get everybody involved to build a plan and realise that it may take up to three years to achieve the right plan.

"There will be complications such as fear of the unknown, stress, conflicting views, a desire to get it over with quickly and personality clashes.

"But a lot of those things can be handled by sharing ideas, listening to people and giving them a fair hearing.

"You need to build a picture of what the new management structure will look like and it maybe that you get professional help to look at tax and legal implications.

"People should be free to identify their needs and hopes for the future so there should be agreement to adjust the plan to accommodate all family members."

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