Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

It’s that time of year again – the time when goals are set and plans are put in motion. Spring means doing what needs to be done now to give yourself the greatest chance of success later. Waiting to get started isn’t an option. If certain steps aren’t taken now, the rest of the season is at risk. Farmers know better than most that we reap what we sow when it comes to planning ahead and doing the hard work upfront. And they know all too well that not planning and not doing the work leads to anxiety and disappointment. But what isn’t so common among farmers is an appreciation of how these principles apply not just to the harvest, but to their personal and business affairs as well.

 

Just look at the facts: only 18% of Ontario family farm business owners have a valid will. A mere 4% have a fully developed plan to deal with the eventualities of incapacity, retirement, and death. Meaning that 96% of farmers, their families, and their farming businesses are dependent on the farmer never getting sick, never retiring, and never dying. It’s not an ideal plan.


So why do we expose ourselves to this level of uncertainty and risk? It can’t be that farmers aren’t planners, and it’s certainly not because farmers are afraid of hard work. No, it’s that farmers, like most non-farmers, don’t want to talk about death. But good news! Farm Business Succession Planning isn’t about death. It’s about making decisions and working towards goals in a way that maximizes profits and minimizes losses. It’s about identifying opportunities and creating options. It’s about setting you, your family and your business up for success both now and in the future.


If you still aren’t convinced that now is the time to start the planning process, what about if we told you the government was paying for it. Yes, believe it or not the government will pay the professional fees of your advisor through government cost-share funding.


By adding “call my business advisor” to your list of Spring Chores you’ll be taking a significant step toward protecting yourself, your family and your farm for seasons and generations to come.


This discussion thread was written by Ms. Nicole Allen, BA (Hons), LL.B., of ALLEN Trusts & Estates.

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Hi Nicole,

This is a tough topic for most families.

Complex and emotional...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Joe

We find it hard to talk about and time goes by as you get busy.

RR

That's exactly it RR. The issues are difficult and complex. But they do get easier to address once they're out in the open. People are usually reluctant to open that can of worms, but that's the thing about worms, they dry up when exposed to sunlight.

And that's why I think the cost-share program is such a good one.

It gives farmer's access to professionals who can help with some of the more difficult or delicate issues (family dynamics, financial uncertainty, business management transition strategies, etc.), provides timelines that the advisor is responsible for helping the farmer meet, and by covering a significant portion of the costs, it's essentially reimbursing the farmer for the time spent away from the day to day business of running the farm. It removes the issue of costs from the equation while giving farmers access to advice that can save tens of thousands of dollars and years of extra work.  

It's not easy but it's time well spent.

- Nicole Allen


Roadrunner said:

We find it hard to talk about and time goes by as you get busy.

RR

Thanks Nicole,

I am going to look into this program this fall when I have a little more time.

RR

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