Planning tough but essential

28 Jul, 2004 10:00 PM

FARM succession planning is a hot topic throughout the western agricultural world and is one of the toughest and least well done jobs for farm families to tackle, according to international strategic planner Rob Napier.

Mr Napier, who is the director of NSW-based Napier Agrifutures, has been doing a lot of work with international farming families, particularly in Canada, where he said a lot of good work is being done.

"Top farm families are generally building their skills well to tackle the task but most farm families have a long way to go," Mr Napier told Farm Weekly.

"The percentage of even the top families who have written succession plans that are owned by the key stakeholders is less than 30pc."

He said the key requirements were communication skills, planning skills and excellent relationships.

"These are required for many more aspects of successful farm business management than succession planning," he said.

The two types of family businesses that needed special care were were those with a strong leader who had trouble delegating or was resistant to change.

"These situations usually need an objective respected outsider to help, at least in the early stages of the process," Mr Napier said.

For further details about the Canadian experience, log on to


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