Family Farm Succession: A Case Study
Corey Van Otegham, Hartwick, Iowa, defended his thesis, “Family Farm Succession: A Case Study”. He is a Business Development Officer with County Bank in Hartwick, Iowa. Van Otegham was winter graduate from Kansas State University and earned a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree.
As part of the requirements to graduate from the Master of Agribusiness program, Van Otegham chose a topic that has importance to many of his clients for his thesis project—the transfer of ownership of a farming operation between generations.
“A well planned and properly structured farm succession plan is necessary for the successful transfer of farm assets and profitability when it is time to transition an operation from one generation to the next,” Van Otegham said. “If performed successfully, farm succession will increase long term efficiency, profitability, and longevity of the business while providing sufficient income to active farm operators and adequate retirement income for retiring generation of owners, while being able to service all debt obligations.”
He stressed in his thesis the importance of breaking the succession process into multiple sessions, using a chronologically ordered 12 step process to increase the chances of a successful succession plan, and seeking counsel from specific off-farm resources to help guide the process and protect the interests of beginning and retiring farm members. Throughout the development and implementation of a succession plan, open and constructive communication among multiple generations, on-farm and off-farm family members, and off-farm resource people is necessary for successful succession planning and implementation, and if often the largest barrier to overcome.