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Succession Planning in Farming Businesses under the Spotlight

The next North Ayrshire Monitor farm meeting on 12 September will focus of the important, but sometimes sensitive, subject of succession planning. 
 
At the meeting, which will be held at Auchens Restaurant, Dundonald, and begin at 7.30pm, Heather Wildman from Saviour Associates will highlight the advantages of planning for the future and suggest ways of approaching the process for farming businesses. 
 
“People avoid starting the process of succession planning for many reasons,” said Mrs Wildman.  
 
“Some are afraid that it will cause conflict, the process will be too difficult, or they simply don’t know how to approach it with their family.
 
“It can also be difficult, when you are busy running a business, to find the time to consider long term succession planning. However, it makes sense to consider succession planning at an early stage if you wish to secure the success of your business for the next generation,” said Mrs Wildman.
 
The meeting will address some of the reasons why those involved in farming too often avoid planning for succession and suggest some questions farmers should ask themselves at that start of the process. 
 
Mrs Wildman, who has published a guide to succession aimed at farmers, acknowledges that every farm business and situation is different, and it is important that each business develops a succession plan that works for them. 
 
“By the end of the meeting I hope that attendees will be able to create an action plan and vision for the succession of their own businesses,” added Mrs Wildman.
 
John Howie from Girtridge Farm, North Ayrshire’s Monitor Farm, runs the 140-hectare livestock farm in partnership with his mother Margaret and his sister Mary.  He is hoping this meeting will help support farmers in the area who may be looking for guidance on the succession planning process in their own businesses. 
 
“Succession is often viewed as quite an emotive subject and as a result many farming families find it difficult to talk about,” said Mr Howie. “We hope that this meeting will help to address that and encourage farming families on the best way to talk about this topic and prepare for the future.”
 
The North Ayrshire Monitor Farm is one of nine monitor farms that have been established across Scotland in a joint initiative by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds, with funding from the Scottish Government. The aim of the programme is to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.
 
The meeting at the Auchens Restaurant on 12 September will begin at 7.30pm prompt. Those attending the meeting are invited for a meal at the Restaurant at 6pm. Attendees who are unable to attend the meal should aim to arrive at 7pm for a 7.30 pm start. The meeting is expected to finish by 9.30pm. All are welcome and the event is free.
 
For catering purposes, those interested in coming along should confirm attendance by calling 01292 525252 or emailing FBSAyr@sac.co.uk by 11 September.
 
For more information about the monitor farm programme visit www.monitorfarms.co.uk