Succession Planning Tools

Succession Planning Tools

Jolene Brown is a professional speaker, family business consultant, and successful author, as well as co-owner of a corn and soybean farm. As keynote speaker at this month’s NW Hort Expo Brown talked about the necessary tools people need for succession planning. Brown maybe surprised a few in the audience when she said that for the most part farmers are bad at succession planning.

BROWN: What I find is that farmers are really good at what they do as long as weeds, and seeds, and breeds, and feeds - even cash flow and marketing. But when it comes to the people side that gets tough. So when it comes to succession and transition planning what I find is that farmers are really good people and they want to do what’s right, but since they don’t know what right is they don’t do anything, and then we end up in a real mess.

Some of the tools Brown says are needed for succession planning include such household items as tissues, duct tape, and 2x4s, but on a more serious level she states that in dealing with family business and succession planning the tools each family needs “come from multiple sources of continuous learning and review”, including such things as an alliance of dedicated peers, trusted advisory council, employee ideas and suggestions, mentors, and expanded formal education.

So is there a right time for families to start discussing transitioning the family farm?

BROWN: It’s much better to do things when the times are good, and especially as they start forming structures of jointly held assets.

If you would like more information about Brown and her services visit her website at


I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network. 

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