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Beyond the Bale : June 2016
ON FARM 49 With three children aged 17 to 20, woolgrowers Peter and Lisa McCrabb from the western Riverina district of NSW certainly recognise the importance of succession planning and developing long term goals for their business. Home is ‘North Bundy’, a 12,500 hectare property at Booroorban, where Peter and Lisa run a large self-replacing Merino flock. Peter’s parents bought the property in 1974 and expanded it, with Peter and Lisa taking over the property in 1997. Mid last year, Peter and Lisa were inspired to take a proactive approach to learning more about succession and business planning, after listening to two webinars, hosted by the Pastoral Profit program (and available to view on the Pastoral Profit website), about how to create an economically sustainable livestock business in the pastoral zone. Peter contacted the Pastoral Profit NSW regional coordinator Mark Gardner and together they set up a Pastoral Profit activity in Hay that has a ‘Big Picture Planning’ focus, with an emphasis on helping bring younger family members into a farming business. COMMUNICATION IS VITAL “A key message that participants learnt is the importance of opening up lines of communication with other family members,” Peter said. “Succession planning is often a complex issue for farm businesses, but the facilitated group discussions really helped in enabling individuals to communicate openly about their personal and business goals. “Lisa and I have two children at university and another one close to finishing school, and they all attended at least one of the sessions. This whole of family approach worked well with open communication continuing back at home on the farm. We are now goal setting as a family – it’s now a reality.” Understanding the different motivations, characteristics and needs of family members is essential for constructive planning to occur. “While the major goals for the business are similar for all family members – long-term profit and viability, sustainability, animal welfare – there can be natural differences of opinion about how to achieve those goals. So it’s important to find a productive communication pattern that works for your business and family so that everyone can share their views. We find the structure of writing down our goals and business plan very useful.” BUSINESS PLANNING Each family situation is unique and legal and accounting advice should be obtained to work through the succession process. It is important to consult and communicate openly with professionals as well as other family members. Simon Sellars of Boyce Chartered Accountants attended an activity in February to talk through business structures, financial statements and his experience of succession planning. A financial planner will present at another session this month. “It’s important to learn about the roles of these professionals who contribute to the succession planning process,” Peter said. “It was also useful to learn from other participants about the variety of business structures that they use, which can affect taxation for example, and also their experience with different professional advisors in the area. “During another activity, we also learnt some useful information on farm viability, such as performance targets for livestock enterprises, financial benchmarking and general profit drivers.” To help with business planning, participants were encouraged to examine how their businesses were currently performing, identify the business and personal goals of all family members, and determine what business options were available in the future. “Many of the participants learnt a lot from these business planning sessions, which have helped them get a long-term plan under way, with the help of professional advisors.” GROUPS AN IMPETUS FOR CHANGE Lisa says each of the farming families in the group has been very keen to get practical benefits out of the group sessions, which have been well attended and have motivated the families to keep moving their businesses forward. “As well as educating us about new business options and skills, the groups have been a real stimulus to prompt us to make some immediate changes, such as updating our superannuation arrangements. “Wherever you are in the family or the business cycle, the time to start looking at ways to run a successful multi-generational business is now. The earlier you look at these things, the better off you are.” A POSITIVE APPROACH TO SUCCESSION AND BIG PICTURE PLANNING Succession planning can be challenging, but a new Pastoral Profit group in Hay is helping local livestock producers and their families address the issue. The Pastoral Profit program is funded by AWI and MLA and is for mixed grazing producers in the pastoral zone. It directly addresses the challenges facing many pastoral livestock producers and encourages the adoption of new business management skills to improve bottom lines, applicable to their region and situation. Pastoral Profit operates throughout Qld, NSW, SA and WA. To keep up to date with upcoming activities and to get involved visit the Pastoral Profit website. Alternatively, if there aren’t any events listed, contact your local coordinator on the details provided on the website. MORE INFORMATION www.pastoralprofit.com.au Pastoral Profit national coordinator Pene Keynes, (08) 8841 4500, firstname.lastname@example.org NSW regional coordinator Mark Gardner, 0419 611 302, email@example.com PASTORAL PROFIT: FOR MIXED GRAZING PRODUCERS Peter and Lisa McCrabb with their three children at ‘North Bundy’, Booroorban, NSW.
In the Shops - September 2016