Succession in multi-generational family farm businesses
Lange, Kelly Y.
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Family farms play a vital role in the production of agricultural goods and services and continue to be responsible for a vast amount of agricultural production around the world. Most farms in the United States are family owned and managed and are responsible for the majority of agricultural production. This dissertation is comprised of three individual studies which utilize a variety of methods to investigate the family farm transfer process. A qualitative study utilizing interview methods investigates how farm business structure, division of managerial responsibility, and family decision-making processes affect the transfer of farming from one generation to the next. Results indicate that the methods by which the younger generation becomes involved in farming as well as family dynamics impact farm succession. A quantitative study identifies and measures factors impacting the transfer of managerial control in family farm businesses. The results indicate that operator demographics, business planning practices, value of farm assets and inputs, and non-farm assets impact the decision to transfer managerial control to a designated successor. Finally, a hypothetical case study incorporating financial planning concepts into the farm transfer decision-making process is introduced. Retirement, estate, and succession planning issues are addressed within a question and answer format.