Farmers Encouraged to Develop Succession Plans for their Businesses

The Cameron Family from Strone Farm

The benefits of developing a succession plan for your business will be discussed at the next Lochaber Monitor Farm meeting on Monday 18 March.

The free evening meeting, which will be held at the Nevis Centre in Fort William between 7pm and 9.30pm, will try and encourage farming families to begin discussing this sometimes-sensitive topic and prepare their businesses for the future.

At the meeting, Heather Wildman from Saviour Associates will emphasise the importance of having a vision for the future of businesses and will highlight the positives of developing a succession plan. She will also share some practical tips and advice to those yet to develop a succession plan for their own business.

“It is never too early to think about succession planning,” said Mrs Wildman. “Openness, recognising family members differences and listening to each other’s aspirations are all key foundation blocks to a successful transition.”

Mrs Wildman, who has published a guide to succession aimed at farmers, acknowledges that every farm business and situation is different, and it’s important that each business develops a succession plan which works for them.

At the event on 18 March, Mrs Wildman will address some of the reasons why those involved in farming often avoid planning for succession and suggest some questions that farmers and their families should ask themselves at the start of the planning process.

Strone farm, Lochaber’s monitor farm in Banavie near Fort William, is run by father and son team Malcolm and Chris Cameron. The family developed a succession plan some time ago and although Chris has been an active partner in the family business for some years, Malcolm is now supporting Chris as he gains confidence in running the business. This is ideal  preparation for when Malcolm decides to retire.

Malcolm Cameron said: “Farmers are also incredibly busy people so it can be difficult to find the time to consider long term succession planning. However, it makes sense to have a plan in place well in advance as we have done at Strone to help secure the future of your business.”

The Lochaber Monitor Farm is one of nine monitor farms that have been established around Scotland in a joint initiative by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds. The aim of the programme, which is funded by Scottish Government, is to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.

The meeting on 18 March will be held at the Nevis Centre, in Fort William and will begin 7pm and finish at 9.30pm. To book your attendance please contact facilitators Niall Campbell or George Gauley on 01631 563093 or email fbsoban@sac.co.uk.