NextGen—planting the seed for succession

When is the right time to start the conversation about farm succession and passing on the reins to the next generation?

Far North Queensland NextGen growers met for the first time in 2021, with succession planning being a key agenda item. With many growers coming from a family farming history, succession planning can be tricky in navigating the needs and wants of family members at different ages and stages of life, with different motivations. 

Guest speakers Nick Birchley and Alison Larard shared their knowledge and experiences on farming succession with the group. Nick, a Financial Councillor for the Rural Financial Counselling Service has extensive agricultural counselling experience and offers financial counselling to banana growers. Coming from a farming background, Alison is a Senior Beef Extension officer for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and a 2018 Nuffield Scholar, completing her scholarship in Succession Planning and Business Management. Stepping through the process of succession, Nick and Alison shared their experiences with the group on what farm business succession is, when to start planning, the stages of a business’s life cycle and how the Rural Financial Counselling Service can assist banana growers with succession and financial counselling. 

The group also discussed the need for labour saving technologies, with a discussion on agricultural compliance management software available to assist growers with compliance, digital record keeping and audits. As an example, insight into an up and coming system to help with record keeping for compliance management was given by Jennifer McKee from Growers Support. 

If you would like further information on how your business can prepare for succession please contact Nick Birchley (RFCS) via email or phone 0448 460 309. If you are interested in getting involved in NextGen get in touch with Tegan Kukulies (DAF) – or 0459 846 053.  

Nick Birchley talking with NextGen growers at the Queens Hotel in Innisfail

The NextGen initiative is part of the National Banana Development and Extension Program (BA19004). This project has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the Hort Innovation banana research and development levy, co-investment from the Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, New South Wales Department of Primary industries and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.