This lack of formal succession planning could add
considerable risk to the agricultural sector, which
contributes £85 billion to the UK economy each year and
employs 3.5 million people*.
An added concern highlighted by the research is that 38 per
cent of farmers who do have a succession plan in place do
not involve their successors in the actual running of the
farm or the business on a day to day level. This lack of
involvement could impact negatively in both the short and
long term, losing the farm valuable time and money.
Interestingly, 24 per cent of farmers who plan to hand over
to a family member, which in the majority of cases is a son
(75 per cent), admit that the successor should be more
Martin Redfearn, Head of Agriculture at Barclays, said,
"Many farms have been in the same family for several
generations. To ensure the transition from one generation
to the next is done smoothly, careful planning is essential
rather than it being left to chance.
"Planning who will take on both the business responsibility
and the assets of a farm can be a sensitive subject and not
necessarily something people want to address. However,
without that vital plan, future years, if not decades, of
hard work are being put at risk.
"Importantly, succession planning doesn't need to be an
arduous or expensive process, but it does need to be
considered far earlier and in a more formal way than it
currently is. We want farmers to feel confident about their
own future and that of their farm. To do that, we advise
them to seek the best possible specialist advice on matters
such as financial planning, tax and legal issues. There is
lots of support available to help farmers make the right
Meurig Raymond, National Farmers' Union (NFU) Deputy
President adds, "The importance of succession planning, and
of having a live and formal plan in place, can't be
underestimated. We would encourage all our members to think
about how the next generation can be brought into the
family business and develop with them a more formal plan
for how succession and handover will work. The NFU's Next
Generation Policy Forum members show the huge potential of
the next generation, we'd encourage all our members to
harness their enthusiasm and energy."
Research carried out by The National Farm Research Unit in
May 2012, amongst 383 dairy and cereal farmers
* Statistics taken from the Farming Delivers for Britain
Wallings Farm is very much the archetypal family business.
At the helm is Peter Walling supported by wife Catharine,
brother Allan and his two sons Robert and Phillip, all
under the watchful eye of Father/Grandfather Richard. The
farm was purchased back in 1948, by Peter's Grandfather and
during the post war period, enjoyed good times. Peter's
father took over the farm in the 1970s and specialised in
dairy in the hope it would provide an income for him and
his son Allan.
The following link provides a short video of the farm and
their views on the importance of succession http://youtu.be/11RKHZdjlYM