Delaying succession planning could cost farmers

Andrew and Lisa Tippett on their Okaiawa dairy farm.

South Taranaki dairy farmer Andrew Tippett believes starting early is the key to tackling farm succession planning.

Andrew and his wife Lisa run a 400-cow autumn calving farm at Okaiawa near Hawera.

The couple, who have five daughters, jointly own the 165-hectare property with Lisa’s parents Dennis and Diane Bourke.

“Lisa and I couldn’t afford to buy the farm by ourselves,” said Andrew.

“We achieved the goal by forming a company with Lisa’s parents, who already owned another dairy farm at Te Roti.”

The Tippett’s own a 20 per cent stake in the family company and plan to gradually increase their shareholding.

“It’s always tricky when you’re the son-in-law. I didn’t want to just elbow my way in,” said Andrew.

Involving Taranaki-based accountancy firm CMK, enabled the families to devise a pathway to propel them forward.

“Making sure Dennis and Diane were happy in their retirement was our main focus,” said Andrew.

Passing on farms to the next generation can be a struggle and succession planning is often left in the ‘too hard basket’.

“Delays in making decisions about succession planning can potentially cripple multi-million dollar businesses,” said CMK strategist Andrew Darke.

“The sooner conversations are started and a plan made, the better it is for all parties.”

To help farmers, Andrew Darke and his colleague John Dazley have published a book on the complex subject.

‘Passing It Forward’ and is an 88-page guide to succession planning.

CMK has just distributed about 5,000 free copies of the book to farmers across Taranaki.

“Succession planning goes beyond money. It’s imperative the needs values, expectations and goals of each family member are considered,” said John.

“Great advice is invaluable.

“Experts who have encountered situations similar to yours, will know what works and what doesn’t,” he said.

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