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Master of Agribusiness

Planning for the Future: The Case of XYZ Farms

Kayla Lichty, Waterloo, Iowa, defended her thesis, “Planning for the Future: The Case of XYZ Farms” on May 11, 2017. She is the Marketing & Events Coordinator for Farm Journal Media. Lichty graduated from Kansas State University in August 2017 with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree.

Begun in 1924, XYZ Farms, a family farm in Northeast Iowa, specializes in both crop and animal production. The farm has been passed down through time, and now, the operation is facing another transition to a new generation of ownership. Using a case study approach, Lichty provides a transition plan for XYZ Farms by using a succession planning framework.

“The purpose of this study is to evaluate and create a feasible transition plan for XYZ Farms, while minimizing the social and economic costs associated with farm business succession. Analysis allows the operation to identify and use a successful planning framework that is important for farm families as they begin the planning process. Both quantitative and qualitative analysis are used to understand the operation’s need for succession planning,” Lichty said.

Through her research, Lichty provides recommendations for the XYZ Farms transition including the evaluation of financial feasibility, the development of a business plan and discussion of estate and retirement planning. Lichty also found that the key to a sound succession plan is an open line of communication between current and future owners of the operation.

Dr. Gregg Hadley, Associate Professor and Lichty’s thesis advisor, said, “This research shows the complexity of farm succession, and how important it is to follow a succession process and to have open, honest communication.”

The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/36242.