AWCA: Gaining a seat at the Table


Global Ag Risk Solutions’ Jonathan Small has been working with families on succession planning for over 30 years.

Small was part of a workshop at the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference in Calgary aimed at helping women discover what seat at the table in the farm operation they want and how they were going to achieve it.

“How to select those goals and to assess where you are starting from and then how to plan the journey to get from where you are today to where whatever that goal may be,” says Small.

“So just basic planning process that you can use for all things like this.”

The Chief Research Officer for GARS says there are always a number of barriers to achieving that goal.

“The key barriers are perceived or actual lack of experience on the part of the person trying to move into the role as well as fear of the unknown on the part of the person who is supposed to be transitioning out.  That also includes fear of risking what has been for them a lifetime’s work with someone’s who is not tried and tested.”

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He says there are two common goals people involved with succession plans always want when they are passing on the operation to the next generation.

“Ensuring the legacy, which is immensely important to farm families and the avoidance of fights.  We don’t want the kids fighting over this.  You will find that in one-way shape or form in every single case.”

Small says there is also always common questions that the owners have of the next generation.

“The common questions I think relate to readiness, is he ready yet, is she ready yet, commitment, are they going to bring value?”

For more on the Advancing Women in Agriculture East Conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario click here.