Author provides five components for keeping family farms

Dave Specht recommends having a clear contingency plan as to who will take over the farm when the owners die. | File photo

A plan for protecting the family farm was outlined by Dave Specht, founder of Advising Generations and the author of “The Farm Whisper,” during the American Farm Bureau Federation's 97th Annual Convention. 

He outlined five key components essential for protecting the family farm.

The first is to map out the operational structure of the farm, including all involved in the farm, and address any questions about succession of the farm. The second is to have a clear contingency plan as to who will take over the farm when the owners die.

"Surprises are only cool at birthdays and anniversaries," Specht said. "They are not cool at funerals. They are not cool when someone becomes disabled. They are not cool when someone loses their health. We need to eliminate as many surprises in our plan as possible."

The third is to be open to questions about succession from all who are involved with the farm. For help with starting the conversation, Specht created an app called Inspired Questions for Farmers. 

Allowing all involved in the farm to ask questions and be involved in the plan to transfer assets is the fourth essential component outlined by Specht. Finally, Specht says farmers must evaluate their expectations and not be afraid of addressing the tough issues.

"You can't ignore the tough questions just because they're uncomfortable," Specht said. "If you haven't talked about your retirement needs you're going to have problems. The next generation needs to know now what they should plan for."

Organizations in this story

American Farm Bureau Federation 600 Maryland Ave SW Suite 1000 Washington, DC 20024

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