Welcome to Farms in Transition

A weekly blog to help you plan your legacy

This is the first installment of Farms in Transition, a series of blogs focused on how to help you plan your farm and family's legacy. Let us know what you think.

As a kid growing up on an Illinois farm we raised livestock of all kinds — horses, sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, peafowl, dogs and cattle. Our family believed that every investment in livestock needed to pay a dividend in the form of offspring that could be sold at a profit. All our stock was purebred and pedigreed.

The tradition in animal agriculture is that when you raise pedigreed stock you name each animal using a prefix which is your farm name. In our case the farm was called Dunncreek Farms. So our stock was named Dunncreek’s Lucky Lady, Dunncreek’s Dancing Doll and so on.

When I started this financial advisory firm with my partner Chris Neu, I named it Dunncreek Advisors in tribute to our family farm back home in Illinois and to the generations of farmers who made investments in their fields and flocks, folks who collected dividends at harvest time each year to provide for the generations to follow.

Our goal is to carry on the tradition of your ancestors by leaving the world a better place for having been here. We are dedicated to serving agricultural producers, those who serve them and those who love them with smart, fee-only, fiduciary, financial advice.

This blog will be an on-going conversation about agricultural business legacy planning. With the average American farmer aged 57, the need to make plans and prepare for the transition to the next generation is everywhere. And with the growing size and complexity of today’s agricultural businesses the stakes of a legacy plan can be very high.

We are starting our conversation with agricultural business continuity planning. As owners you need to address three issues for the business to carry forward:

• Define the longer-term vision for the enterprise. What does it do and what does it not do;
• Define the expertise required to keep the business going; and
• Identify the personnel who can provide the skills the business needs.

What are your thoughts about preparing the family business to continue after the current generation is gone? I welcome your comments and insights at [email protected]

The opinions of Rich Dunn are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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