Life is full of ups and downs. Preparing for them by planning for your farm’s future can help protect your farm from huge financial and emotional consequences.
Why should you put plans in place for the future?
If you plan for your farm’s future, you can help reduce the impacts of changes that are outside your control. What likely effect would drought, illness or changes in market price have on your farm? At the time, these situations can quickly feel overwhelming because you often have to make several big decisions in a rush. However, if you spend a little time talking and thinking about challenges before they occur then when the time comes, your decisions will be better informed, and your reactions will be more considered. This may help you reduce or even negate negative impacts.
Good financial management helps farmers set aside a fund for unexpected events. Risk management practices can also help, such as insurance against disease outbreaks and crop failure and being a member of a co-operative. Animal health planning, including preventive strategies and bio-security measures, is also aimed at reducing risk and loss.
What about the future of your farm and your retirement? For many farms, having a proper succession plan in place is key to safeguarding the future of the business. However, over 60% of farm businesses do not have a succession plan, even though this can result in legal cases worth thousands, or even millions, of pounds and have devastating impacts on family cohesion.
Who knows what the future holds?
That does not mean you have to bury your head in the sand. Some simple measures, especially talking about it, is the start of a future planning process that will give you something to build on. There are many experts and ideas available to help you on this road.
What is the advice?
2 Minute Farmer has identified 6 key questions that farmers should think about when preparing for the future. Few people will be top of the game in all these sections. But if you decide that this is an area you would like to improve then it is useful to know the recommended practices and available resources. This could help you set goals and create a plan of action.
Hover over the next to each question to learn more about it and see some useful links.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to and reviewed this page.
Professor Matt Lobley
Professor of Rural Resource Management, Exeter University