Succession Start Early

Succession Start Early

Eastern Washington farmer Fred Fleming ended up with his family’s farm after his father had a sudden stroke. There had been no succession planning prior to his father’s stroke. Fleming vowed that when it was time to pass the reins, he would be deliberate in his planning.

Also unique to Fleming’s situation is that his next generation successor is NOT family as his two grown children have careers outside of agriculture and are not interested in returning to the family farm. He has found the young farmer who will be taking over his farm ground and he has begun the search for the successor to his seed company.

His two big pieces of advice to farmers about transition to the next generation — start early like when you are in your mid-fifties in determining a succession plan and using outside resources to assist in the process can be very helpful.

He encourages farmers or ranchers to consider using Northwest Farm Credit Services’ Business Management Center in assisting with the succession planning — which was the route he choose. He says not to be put off by the price tag of succession help.

Fleming: “It sounds like a lot of money at the beginning but when you start looking at what farmers are worth and the transition to the next generation is worth — it is budget dust as far as what it will cost you but it will save your farm and your legacy moving forward.”


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