Harrison & Hetherington (part of the H&H Group) formed Farmstock Futures in 2020 along with The Family Business Community, with the purpose of engaging the new generation working within farming and the wider agricultural business sectors across the UK.
The programme has enabled an insight into the thoughts and ideas of the current generation, their future career and industry sector aspirations; the challenges they perceive along the way within farming and Agri business and what type of support they would be looking for with their own development.
In the first of a new monthly column ‘Farmstock Future Champions’ will discuss what they feel are important issues for our next generation of farmers.
“Planning for the Future” is the subject of discussion in this, our first column written by Emma Blamire, Agricultural Law Solicitor of Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors:
With the recent publication of the Defra Exit Fund Scheme, the thorny issue of retirement and succession has become a hot topic once again. Leaving the future unresolved really can cost the farm. Time and time again we see family disputes that lead to fights that could have been avoided, huge sums lost and the costs that go with years of argument.
Farming families can be a hotbed of tension; parents who aren’t ready to retire and children who are impatient to take over the farm or to change its direction, as well as marriage, stepchildren and divorce. Add into the mix the changes to support payments and the possibility of accessing a one-off lump capital sum and it isn’t hard to foresee that difficult conversations need to be had.
High profile court cases over the last decade provide timely reminders of the need to be clear and plan for the future. Take the daughter who had dedicated her life to the farm, missing out on other opportunities and who following a fall out with the family was awarded £1.3million from a farm worth £3.8 million in recognition of the promise made to her. Tale the son who positioned his whole life around the farm and the expectation of his inheritance took £3.3m out of his parents’ £4m. Saying ‘all this will be yours one day’ could cost the family farming business millions of pounds if they don’t really mean it.
The answer for farmers looking to their future is to get things out and into the open, and to ensure that things are not left unsaid. Simple things like a decent Will and Partnership Agreement can help prevent disputes arising.
Retirement, succession and death can be a scary topic for all members of the family. Parents don’t want to think about the future when they might not be here and what they might miss and children don’t want to pressure their parents into handing over all of their hard-earned work.
Here at Cartmell Shepherd we are always advising our farming clients to look to the future. You should always be exploring your options for moving your business forward. We can help you alongside your accountant to steer you in the right direction and to facilitate the difficult discussion when it comes to succession planning. Your solicitor can help you implement your plans to make the future and future plans seem far less daunting far less daunting and to provide peace of mind.
For further information about Farmstock Futures and the Farmstock Futures Champions please visit – www.farmstockfutures.uk