Tales from transition: The value of external advisors
Farm family transitions can be a long, challenging process.
Just ask Garnet Martin. His process started in 2010, and a decade later, the process is nearly complete. Martin speaks about his transition process in an episode of the FCC Knowledge Podcast: Talking Farm and Food.
Garnet is a senior partner with his wife Darlene at Evergreen Woodcreek Farms in Saskatchewan. Their son, Derek, his eldest daughter, Lesley (Kelly) and her husband Matt are the junior partners.
Because all the right people were at the table, no rock was left unturned.
Garnet is a big believer in working with external advisors to help the transition process along. He includes his accountant, lawyer and farm consultant at an annual roundtable meeting to analyze the year, where the farm is going and how to improve.
Patti Durand, an FCC Agriculture Transition Specialist has also been included, and says because all the right people were at the table, no rock was left unturned.
“The magic that we got to witness in that room when all of those advisors are sitting there and working through a year in review. It’s unreal how much dirt they could move in a two-hour session,” Durand says.
And the result? A genuine action plan to move the farm ahead.
Worth the investment
While the idea of gathering your team of farm advisors may be intimidating when you begin calculating everyone’s hourly rates, Durand says it’s an important and worthwhile investment.
“There are significant tax structures and opportunities in terms of tax shelters, in particular with transition, for Canadian farms that you need to have an expert. You need to have a resource,” Durand says. “And they’re worth every dollar.”
She adds that the saved time of having everyone in the same room for decision-making has tremendous value, as does the investment in the relationship.
“I don’t know what a relationship is worth to you, but I’m willing to spend some money on it,” Durand says. “And some of this process is about clarity and transparency and documentation that will preserve relationships in the short and long term.
You can hear more from Garnet Martin and Patti Durand, and Garnet’s unique transition process, in the FCC Knowledge Podcast.
Sometimes a farm transition plan involves family members asserting their independence and heading in different directions.