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The Future of Pennsylvania Agriculture as I see it, Part 3

...Brooks continues his personal opinion piece on Governor Tom Wolf's recently announced agricultural plan. Here is Part 1 and 2 if you missed them.

Point 4: Establishing business ownership succession plans on the farm and throughout the food system.

Succession planning is one of the most common sense and unexpected points for a politician to include in a plan. I say unexpected because it is so forward-thinking I can’t believe a person whose job depends on re-election in a couple years would come up with it!

As a 36-year old business owner, I was a hard sell for about a minute. I know that in the long run, there is no one to whom I will likely sell my business. If my children are interested in farming, we will need a succession plan to be clear on responsibilities and financial and legal transfer. If they’re not interested, hopefully I can find someone else who is interested in hiking through chicken and pig poop on a regular basis to provide pastured meats to our area. Either way, a succession plan is an investment that will allow for a smooth transition and a new generation of ownership.

Imagine an economy so connected that the loss of one business or vendor relationship had a significant impact on every other business around it. In a small state like Pennsylvania, that is exactly how our rural agricultural economies work.

Succession plans for any of these businesses could preserve cash flow, sales continuity, and ultimately the sustained viability of the business..

I’m not sure how you execute this plan. Are businesses awarded grants to pay someone to facilitate and write these plans, or is it just a general best practice to have a succession plan in place? My guess is that it is difficult to allocate money to any of these plan points, but if no money is allocated, how are they part of the plan?

I’ll be interested to see the process of execution as the administration moves forward. I hope they can do something useful with this one!

Thanks for reading, and thanks for supporting local foods,


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