Succession planning. The farming industry's dirty secret.

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How many farmers have a five or even ten-year plan for their farm? It is something extremely hard to gauge in the dairy industry but based on statistics it is assumed that very few have considered their long-term future.

Farmers are proactive in implementation and demonstrate expert knowledge about animal health, husbandry, nutrition and production but there is a serious lack when you start asking questions around financial preparedness – in particular retirement and succession. It’s a problem that has been studied by several leading Australian universities.

With 60% of all Australian farms being family owned farms and with an ageing farming population it is an ongoing concern that needs to be addressed.

“Passing on the management of farming assets to the next generation is often a complicated and emotional process but the Queensland dairy industry can’t afford to lose any more. We’ve lost over three hundred farms in the last ten years and we run the risk of extinction if we don’t start talking about the future. We can’t afford to lose farms due to not having a skilled successor selected or because of a family property dispute.” said Recovery and Resilience program project officer, Torie Harrison.

 “We’d all like to think we can manage on the farm forever, but you really need to have a plan in place for when the unexpected happens. As much as you store feed and water for any severe weather events that may occur our farmers need to plan for the five D’s : disability, debt, divorce, disagreement and death” said Ms Harrison.

There is no one-fits-all solution and the legal and financial jargon can be overwhelming. With the help of financial experts in the field, QDO has developed a program to assist farmers explore the options and find one that suites their individual farm and family. Securing the future for the industry starts with securing the future of the individuals within. The first workshops are being held in Beaudesert (15 May) and Marburg (12 June). Bookings can be made through the QDO office on 3236 2955 or by email to torie@qdo.org.au or damien@qdo.org.au