Farm succession planning is complex and requires careful thought, according to David Marrison, associate professor, The Ohio State University Extension. Marrison addressed workshop attendees at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2017 Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show in Phoenix, Ariz.

Marrison posed an intriguing question to his farmer and rancher audience to open the session: “If you had seven weeks to live, what would be the five most important things you need to do?”

Top things to consider are whether or not you want to keep your farm going and what needs to be done to prepare your family for you not being there, according to Marrison.

Possible marital changes down the road, the need to protect business assets and navigating family conflicts are among the many challenges anyone considering farm succession planning must face head on. If the farm business is to continue, whether or not it is profitable enough to ensure a future for family members must be considered.

In addition, “Have you asked your kids what they think?” Marrison told attendees.

Too often, poor communication among family members is a major stumbling block when the subject of succession planning arises. In addition, the mixed roles of family members on the farm or ranch, diverse personalities, generational differences and gender differences all play a role and must be considered, according to Marrison.