Farmer Focus: It’s crazy many farms have no succession plan

Well that escalated quickly. In my January column, I said: “We may see supply and demand in farmers’ favour come 2023.”

The price rises are crazy for inputs and outputs and people say they’ll keep going up. However, I’d have concerns that prices are going beyond what is economically viable and consumption could drop sharply, with the world effectively going into mini hibernation. 

About the author

Richard Orr
Richard Orr farms 160ha in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, with his wife and parents. He is an AHDB Monitor Farmer. Crops include wheat, oats, barley, potatoes and vegetables. The business also has a farm shop and beef cattle
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Those farmers that have good business plans and have the next 12/18 months of inputs in stock are in a good position to forward sell with good profit. 

See also: 5 steps to tackle septoria as wheat variety ratings slump

I think current world events are a good wake-up call to assess what we want out of life.

Our February AHDB Monitor Farm meeting on succession was perfectly timed for that and definitely sent farmers away with food for thought after Heather Wildman had challenged their thoughts and ambitions. 

I have my own issues currently with succession and knowing where my future is heading, even though it had seemed it was clearly agreed.

It is crazy how many farm businesses have no succession plan nor even a will made. It is so important people talk about and document correctly and legally where they are going and who that involves. 

The feedback at the meeting was excellent, with one farmer saying: “I want my son to farm and my wife doesn’t, but the critical thing we missed is we haven’t asked our son what he wants.”

Another said he has been working on a family farm for the past 20 years, but has no clear idea where he fits into the future of the business. 

Too often farming gets sucked into just rolling from one year to the next, scared of change or afraid to talk about the future.

This is the perfect time to discuss your future, your parents’ future, your children’s future and in all too many circumstances your grandkids future, as the grandparents are still in control. 

I’m off now to negotiate a price for the last 50 tons of wheat…

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