Upcoming Farm Succession event

Taking steps to ensure the future of the family farm is vital for all farm businesses.  On Tuesday 5th September 2017, at Loughry College, Cookstown, Rural Support is hosting an important workshop for farmers and farm families exploring the topic of farm succession planning.  The keynote speaker for the event is Siân Bushell from Pembrokeshire, Wales.  Siân is a trained facilitator who helps family businesses develop succession plans across the UK and Ireland. 

Many of us have heard the term succession planning but what exactly does it mean?  Farm Succession planning is the process through which farm owners identify and develop new leaders who can replace them when they retire, decide to leave or pass away.  Very often it involves the entire farm family who may or may not be already involved in the business or who are likely to be involved in the future.  For many farm businesses, this will usually be a family member and very often will be the farmer’s child or children.  

Making decisions regarding the future of the farm business once you have either retired or passed away can be a highly emotive and sometimes contentious subject for many families.  Communication within the family can break down and it can be a difficult subject to approach whether you’re the business owner or a family member currently working or financing the farm. 

There are a number of factors which need to be considered and some farm families can find themselves in complicated situations and unsure of what to do for the best.  Every farm business and farm family is different.  Perhaps you have several children, some of whom are interested in farming and some who are not? Maybe some, or all of your children have moved off-farm and pursuing other careers.  As a result, you’re unsure of how to incorporate both on-farm and off-farm children in your will, trying to keep everyone happy? You’re perhaps unsure of how to integrate the next generation successfully or maybe you have no successor? 

According to Rural Support’s most recent evaluation (2017), 61% of clients who availed of the charity’s mentoring project, did not have or were unsure whether there was a succession plan in place for the farm business.  Unanswered questions and the lack of future planning can threaten the happiness of the family and the growth of the business. Getting everyone round the table is an essential first step to address change.

To help farm families start to address succession planning Rural Support is hosting a workshop titled ‘Let’s Talk Succession’ supported by Awards for All and CavanaghKelly. 

The keynote speaker for the event is Siân Bushell from Pembrokeshire, Wales.  Siân is a trained facilitator who helps family businesses develop succession plans.  She is the daughter of a dairy farmer and was a partner in a dairy farm for over 25 years.  Siân trained as a Succession Facilitator in Australia and now works as a facilitator all over the UK and Ireland.  Many of her clients are farmers because of her long experience in agriculture, and her training as a Family Farm Business Facilitator, helping to develop farm succession plans

Siân’s presentation, ‘start the conversation today,’ will include information on the following:

·         How to integrate the next generation successfully.

·         What about the ‘off-farm’ children?

·         What does retirement mean to you?

·         Wills and Power of Attorney.

The workshop will also include an informative presentation from Sean Cavanagh, founding partner and Chairman of CavanaghKelly.  Sean will provide information regarding the tax implications of passing on the family farm whether to an existing family member or sale.


Sean comments ‘The family farm can be an emotive subject for any family. It is important at an early stage to make plans for what is to happen to the farm after death or illness. CavanaghKelly can help you plan to protect the most valuable family asset.’

More information regarding the workshop will follow in the coming weeks.

If you would like to attend this important workshop on Tuesday 5th September 2017, starting at 12 noon with lunch, in the Conference Room of the Food Innovation Centre at Loughry College, Cookstown then please book your free place by contacting Kerri on 028 8676 0040 or email kerri@ruralsupport.org.uk.  Places are limited so it is advised to book early.