TRUST & ESTATE SERVICES

Planning to Keep the Farm in the Family

Keeping the land in the family for future generations can be the greatest challenge ranching families face. Discover how building effective succession steps can help.

06.30.2018 - Thomas E. Junkin, Senior Vice President, Personal Trust Services and Operations

“With proper planning, you can keep the ranch in the family and the family in the ranch.” Donnell Brown, owner R.A. Brown Ranch, United States

Here’s a statistical fact: Only 39% of business owners in Canada have a written business succession plan. Here’s an experience-based fact: Farmers and ranchers are a distinct type of business owner. Perhaps no other business is so intimately bound up with family values and a way of life that triggers such fierce emotions. Where an owner of a manufacturing company or car dealership may strongly wish their children to take over the business one day, emotionally many can accept they’ll likely sell it to fund their retirement. For ranchers and farmers, who’ve often owned their land for generations, the thought of it passing outside the family can be traumatic.

That’s one reason why succession planning can be so difficult for agricultural business owners. Other systemic reasons can make succession planning uniquely challenging. For instance:

As Canada has become increasingly urbanized, many younger people are drawn to different, sometimes more lucrative careers. The lure of city or town life, with a steady salary and a company-sponsored pension can be tempting.

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Thomas E. Junkin, Senior Vice President, Personal Trust Services and Operations

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