B.C. TRANSITION TOOLKIT FOR NON-FAMILY FARM TRANSFER
STAGE 6: MAINTAIN YOUR TRANSITION
As a transition plan is implemented, progress must be monitored, issues might arise and the plan may need to be modified. Regular check-ins are essential to evaluate and adapt as necessary. Flexibility is key.
For a transition plan to be successful, ongoing maintenance is essential. Just like crops need to be tended after planting, you must nurture your transition relationship. Setting up benchmarks at the beginning and reviewing regularly can support the health and performance of your transition plan. Think of it like a carrot bed: you’ve prepped the soil and planted seeds, and to ensure the best harvest, now you have to stay on top of weeding.
The following benchmarks may be part of your maintenance strategy. Decide together how you’ll evaluate the transition plan to determine what’s working and what may need to evolve.
Founders, family members and successors should all have copies of the transition plan.
Set up a timeline to review the plan and make any necessary adjustments
- When will you check in? Annually? Will you have more frequent informal check-ins?
- Who will set check-in dates and start the agenda?
- What will be reviewed and what tools will you use to review, such as your Standard Operating Procedures?
Reviewing the plan and the progress
- Is the plan being implemented?
- What has been done? What still needs to be done?
- Give credit where credit is due – celebrate the achievements!
- Revenue/costs/output – what is the state of the business? How is it developing, along with the needs of farmers?
- Current farmers: Are financial needs being met?
- Entering farmer: Is the business plan feasible?
What if it isn’t going well?
- Is there a mutually-agreed-upon mediator to facilitate discussions and decision-making?
- What are the exit strategies? Have you defined under what circumstances the transition plan can be dissolved, and what that would look like for both parties?
BRINGING IT ALL FULL CIRCLE
Surprise – transition planning never really ends!
Congratulations on successfully navigating the six stages of non-family transition planning, both to current farmers who might actually have a pathway to retirement, and to entering farmers who are now in a position to think about what happens when YOU retire.
What’s next? For current farmers, that might mean transitioning off of the land, as the McCoubrey’s did when they purchased a new property and moved in, or it might mean stepping back entirely from the farm operation and watching from your porch as someone else does the early morning milking (you’ve earned the chance to sleep in!). For entering farmers, this may mean thinking about the next 5, 10, 30 years of life, and making decisions now that will set you up for a smooth transition when you find yourself in the role of “current farmer.” Maybe one of your children will take over, or you can use the lessons from this toolkit, and your own transition, to cultivate a non-family successor.
Whatever the future looks like for you, the tools, questions and considerations in this guide are worth revisiting time and again – to help you build stronger relationships with your family, your fellow farmers, and the wider farm community, from lenders and accountants to us here at Young Agrarians. Reach out for support, keep in touch – and please tell us your transition stories! email@example.com