Keeping Your Farm, Family Together--How You Can Beat the Odds

Keeping Your Farm, Family Together--How You Can Beat the Odds

Succession Planning Workshop for Farmers on July 10 in Clear Lake

Here’s a staggering fact: Families fail to keep their fam­i­lies and fortunes together for three or more generations 90% of the time.

While these seem like unbeatable odds, with good planning and preparation, farmers can become part of the coveted 10% who stick together, says Johnne Syverson, a family business consultant with Transition Point Business Advisors in West Des Moines, Iowa. 

The key is to focus on all four types of wealth and capital—human, intellectual, social and financial

Syverson says human capital involves who we are, where we come from and the talents of the family. Intellectual capital includes work and life experiences, formal and informal education, spiritual beliefs and practices and work ethic. Social capital consists of a person’s contribution back to the community. Finally, financial capital is comprised of assets, such as real estate, machinery, livestock and buildings.

“These components make up a more holistic view of wealth,” Syverson says. “It is important to transfer all components of wealth to the next generation. Without which, the financial wealth will eventually disappear.”

Families who are successful in transitioning their operation understand wealth in this way, Syverson says. Other good habits and common characteristics of successful families include:

  • Meet regularly and have fun together
  • Communicate well and exhibit trust
  • Know their family story
  • Actively mentor the successive generations
  • Celebrate shared values and accept any differences

“These things don’t have anything to do with taxes or buy-sell agreements,” Syverson says. “They have to do with relationships.”

Syverson will be leading a Farm Journal Legacy Project Workshop in Clear Lake, Iowa, on July 10. He will explain how to construct a succession plan, have critical conversations with stakeholders and assemble a helpful team of advisors.

CPA Paul Neiffer, with Clifton Larson Allen, will explain the advantages and disadvantages of various entity structures and how to transfer assets and ownership. Attorney David Repp, with Dickinson Mackaman Tyler & Hagen P.C., headquartered in Des Moines, will cover the legal aspects of succession planning.



Event Details:

Farm Journal Legacy Project Workshop
Friday, July 10

Best Western Holiday Lodge 
2023 7th Avenue N
Clear Lake, IA 50428

Speakers will include:

  • Johnne Syverson, Transition Point Business Advisors, Farm Journal Legacy Project Advisory Team
  • CPA Paul Neiffer, Clifton Larson Allen, Farm Journal Legacy Project Advisory Team
  • Lawyer David Repp, Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen

Learn more and register at or by calling 877-482-7203.

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