The generations need to come together to talk about the future.

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Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation has had over 50 farmers attend the two workshops on succession planning held in Beaudesert and Marburg and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

There was certainly a lot of information on finance, retirement and succession planning covered in the 4-hour sessions and many farmers have asked for additional advice. With the ongoing funding assistance from the Queensland Government, QDO is now organising for one-on-one sessions to help start to get the family and farm finances in order.

Many attendees admitted that they were very good at talking to their family on the farm about feed, that this milker was doing poorly or any other number of practical day to day farm management topics, but that they struggled to even start a conversation about the future.

Even communications consultant Susanne Bransgrove from LiquidGold who specialises in helping families through tough discussions like succession said that when she approached her own family on the topic she felt that she was 12 years old again.

It’s hard for the older generation to let go of the management of the farm, let alone acknowledging and addressing the family landmines regarding who gets to run the farm and who gets what. But when the management of the farm as a business is not being passed on to the next generation until around the age of 35, it’s not surprising that the next generation is getting nervous about the long-term financial viability of the farm and what’s going to happen to the farm when mum or dad dies.

The best advice I can give any farmer, regardless of whether they are in dairy or another type of farming where there is a very valuable land asset that’s integral to the success of the business, is to start the conversation now. These issues are not going to go away without a conversation.

Given the success and feedback from attendees, it is hoped that further Queensland Government funding can be found to extend these workshops into other regions.

QDO Vice President – Matthew Trace.