Philosophy 11 – Establish a Succession Plan.
An integral part of our long-term plan is to establish a Succession Plan. Our business is not sustainable if it cannot continue past our generation. The conventional concept of a farming succession plan is to build up the farm, sell it at retirement and then reinvest and live off the asset in the bank. We feel that is exceptionally inefficient. The thought of selling the farm and having it revert to conventional agriculture is appalling. Our vision is to establish our markets to provide employment for two managers. We will target people that may not be in the position to buy a farm. Their mission will be to sustain and regenerate the farm system. The farm will still provide us with our food, firewood etc and we’ll only require a small pension, in return. We’ll still be living off our asset, it just won’t be in the hands of external financial controllers.
We are all part of the farm ecosystem. All ecosystem elements carry equal weight. Therefore, regardless of the primary tasks, be they feeding the pigs and cutting firewood or dealing with funding bodies, certification officers and accountants, all work is considered equal. There will be a Production Manager and a Business Manager. The Farm Managers’ positions must also be regenerative. The farm will be transferred into a trust that will oversee the Farm Managers and inhabitants in perpetuity.
The succession plan will be effective when successive farm managers and their families are happy to remain at Eaglerise Farm and feel secure and appreciated.
This is an early photo of our vineyard. The wine enterprise forms an important economic source to fund our succession plan. We need to demonstrate to whoever is to take over the farm management that they will be able to finance themselves and the farm.
On the left is a photo of my son, Mitch, being trained to take over the farm. Little did we know the tragic circumstances that would short cut his legacy on the land we cared for together.
On the right is a photo take of Mitch and I whist exploring Bolivia. We did not know that in only 12 months his life would be cut short.
You can only plan for best case scenarios. You need to maintain flexability to bend with what life offers you.