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The Positives of Passing it On – Working with Family in Family Business

By: Kari Burnett, PAg, Regional Farm Business Management Specialist, Swift Current

November 2016

Succession planning continues to be a popular topic in the province. According to the 2011 census of agriculture, the average age of a farmer in Saskatchewan is 54.2. Countering a trend that was somewhat worrying, more young people are returning to the farm. Many young farm families now view farming as a good way to make a living doing what they love, and raising their families in a rural community.

For many people, dealing with farm transfer issues seems like a very difficult task. The planning process can seem overwhelming, time consuming and full of emotion. Many of us would just like to avoid it altogether. However, avoiding this important issue usually creates many more problems. Many of the daily frustrations of working with family in a family business can be prevented by learning from others mistakes.  The plan to transfer the business from one generation to the next must be carefully considered and started early. If you want to honour the family while building and transitioning your business, you have important decisions to make and actions to take. Transitioning a profitable business, and the management skills to go with that, has to be established on more than assumptions, genetics, traditions and emotion.

The week of November 14-18, 2016, Saskatchewan Agriculture is teaming up with RBC to host four succession planning workshops across the province featuring well known author, professional speaker, and farmer, Jolene Brown. With her entertaining, authentic, enlightening and enthusiastic outlook, she covers the topic using real life stories. Ms. Brown uses audience interaction and humour while delivering take-home value, education, appreciation, and celebration. She has sat at lots of kitchen tables and family meeting rooms, and can tell us from experience what works and what doesn’t. She also understands the unique challenges in family business faced by parents, siblings, in-laws and “outlaws”. There will be take-home tools to assist you in the transition and succession of your family business.

During the session Ms. Brown will talk about the top ten assumptions that create major problems for inter-generational and family business transfers. She  will  explore questions that must be answered before someone is allowed to join or work for a business, and identify the hidden areas of business agreements which often start as a conversation, but must end in written documentation.  She will also discuss egos, emotions and decisions involved in estate and management transfer planning. Those attending will receive take home tools for transitioning labour, management, leadership and ownership, as well as understand the need for courtesy and celebration.  The day will also include a moderated session with a panel of professionals, including an accountant, lawyer, and financial planner. 

City Location Date

North Battleford

Western Development Museum

November 14, 2016


St. Mary’s Cultural Centre

November 15, 2016

Swift Current

Palliser Pavilion

November 17, 2016


Venue TBD

November 18, 2016

For more information or to register please contact your local Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture office or the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.

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