I recently received the designation of Farm Succession Coordinator from the International Farm Transition Network. A Farm Succession Coordinator is an independent neutral that works with a farm family to help manage and direct the succession process, but not the outcome. While the coordinator is responsible for the process, the family is still responsible for the outcome. A good coordinator will help the family work through defining roles, establishing goals, and creating a process that will lead to the families desired outcome. The succession coordinator works to make all parties feel that their voice has been heard.
While serving as a Farm Succession Coordinator, I am not actively serving as the attorney for any party. Rather my role is akin to a mediator. Therefore, the normal rules related to the attorney-client relationship do not apply. Unlike an attorney, accountant, or financial advisor, the coordinator is more like a coach. The coordinator is there to help establish the game plan and then help the farm family put a team in place that can execute the plan.
In working with farm families, the coordinator will help the family:
- Determine where the farm is now;
- Figure out where they want to be; and
- Create a road map or game plan to get there.
Beginning with our newsletter in August we will discuss each of these steps in greater depth.
If your farm family is stuck, consider utilizing a certified Farm Succession Coordinator to assist you in taking the next step toward successful farm succession planning.