Succession - Are You Leaving Your Legacy?

October 28, 2022 | Ed Scharringa

Succession - Are You Leaving Your Legacy?

Proverbs 13:22 “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children.”

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

A biblical truth which we can garner from scripture is those who plan for the future are wise. As stewards of God’s creation, we ought to plan for the future of where our farm or business enterprise should transition to.

One of the wisest men to ever live, King Solomon of Ancient Israel, penned Proverbs 16:1 - “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.” This concept may take us a bit aback as we plan for the future. If we’re honest, it’s not easily accomplished. How do we divide, disperse, transition, or even sell our hard-earned, sweat-filled, and at times stressful operations to the next generation? We need clear insight, wisdom, and divine assistance.

Coming to grips in mind and spirit, the reality that we are not immortal and will not have control over our possessions forever is a good starting point. From my personal experience in succession planning, prayer and consultation from sources of wisdom and knowledge were the factors that led to a successful outcome. Seeking advice from experts and following a plan that meets needs and expectations for the future is critical.

For many who are facing the situation of “Where does my operation go from here?”, step back for a moment and analyze your options. How can you best be honourable and fair to the successor and ultimately the farm industry in general? Many good operations have been lost to buyouts or large corporations that don’t value the principles that once endeared the previous owner.

One consideration that encumbers moving forward is fairness to non-farming family members. How do we evaluate the numbers of value to enable a son, daughter, or friend to succeed and move forward in the operation that we have so dearly built up? Did I groom a son or daughter or maybe even a faithful employee to be able to take over? What will stepping down from day-to-day operations look like? Have I the faith and trust to guide but stay at arm’s length to enable the next generation to go forward?

Today we need to be even more aware of the direction of our farm enterprise. We are called as stewards of God’s creation to be forward thinkers of enabling future generations to continue to be providers of essentials for human life. Many successful farm transitions to the next generation are occurring, and have already occurred to the benefit of many families and the preservation of future agriculture in our country.

At CFFO, we encourage prayerful, thoughtful, sustainable, and successful transitions so the future of agriculture and related businesses will be guaranteed. May God bless you if you are at this point in life, to make decisions that will leave a positive legacy for family and farm.

Ed Scharringa is Board of Directors President for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKXS Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and CHLP Listowel.