MU Extension workshops help families tackle succession planning

Successfully transitioning from a family farm business to the next generation does not happen overnight.

Wesley Tucker, an agricultural business specialist at the University of Missouri Extension, says it takes planning and “communication, communication, communication.”

To help families start the succession planning process and initiate communication, Tucker and a team from MU Extension will be hosting two-hour workshops across the state in July and August. Six of the workshops will be in-person events at various locations, and one will be held online via Zoom.

From 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, July 29, the meeting will be held at the Andrew County Extension Office in Savannah. Other locations are outside the Northwest Missouri region.

There is an online event via zoom, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, August 10.

Individuals can register at

The Missouri Department of Agriculture and FCS Financial funded the workshops.

Tucker says the fear of conflict keeps many families from pursuing estate plans, but sitting down together and communicating what everyone wants removes much of the angst from the process.

“You will make mistakes,” he says. “There is no perfect plan to pass a family farm business on to heirs when you want the farm business to continue, which is the goal of succession.

Nobody likes conflict, so we often avoid difficult conversations, says Tucker. But it is important to engage in “intentional communication” in the form of regular family business meetings.

“While it may seem alien, the more we can separate ourselves from family roles and treat it like a business, the more likely we are to make it work,” he says.

The SBA has found that businesses are more at risk of failure when transitioning to family members rather than people outside the family.

“Keeping the family on the farm and the farm in the family is the goal of nearly every grower in Missouri,” says Chris Chinn, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. “To do this, producers must be intentional and focused to prepare a succession plan that takes into account all parties and all priorities. Navigating this process can be very daunting. This workshop will help answer questions while providing a roadmap for making a plan that works for your operation. »

Unlike estate plans that kick in after an event, usually a funeral, estate plans shouldn’t depend on an event, Tucker says.

“If they do, then successors who have been involved in their family businesses may not be adequately compensated for their efforts if something goes wrong before that event,” he says.

Estate planning’s focus on transferring business operations also differentiates it from estate planning, which involves giving your land and equipment to your children.

“It’s easy,” Tucker said. “But if the goal is to keep the farming business together, then you also need a succession plan.”

Tucker says MU Extension’s “Preparing for Farm Succession Planning” workshop will show farmers the path from where their business is today to where they want their business to be when they are. gone.

“Whatever you do, don’t let your kids train after you leave.”

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