This article is one of a series of articles about worksheets in Cultivating Your Farm’s Future: a workbook for farm succession planning in Wisconsin.
Cultivating Your Farm’s Future: a workbook for farm succession planning in Wisconsin was developed as a companion piece for Extension farm succession programs. It is designed to help family members and farming partners start conversations about important aspects of farm succession. The workbook is organized into three sections:
- Section 1: Where is the farm now?
- Section 2: Where do you want to be?
- Section 3: How do we get there?
While the workbook can be helpful to organize your information, your vision, and some options, it does not replace working with your accountant, tax specialists, or attorney. The goal of the workbook is to clarify your thoughts and make your meetings with the professionals more efficient.
The Family Tree and Family Spotlight are worksheets on pages 5 & 6 that provide space to record information about your family members and their roles on the farm. Completing these worksheets are two steps in helping take inventory of the family and their contributions. These worksheets help you gather the information service professionals will be asking about the family as you continue the farm succession and inheritance planning process.
In the Family Tree worksheet, you may want to record birth dates instead of the current ages, so you don’t have to continually update it. You can also list spouses and grandchildren if there’s room.
The Family Spotlight is a place where you can list the family and non-family members who are contributing to the farm. While we call the worksheet Family Spotlight, if you have non-family employees who are key to the farm and they may be interested in becoming an owner, you should include them in this worksheet as well. This worksheet helps you organize the basic employment information for family and key employees, including the compensation for each person. Remember to include any fringe benefits. This can include healthcare, and housing, and utilities. And don’t forget about those farm vehicles, gas, or cell phones. You might also want to note if someone works off the farm part or full time. You can put that in the farm role and indicate that it is off-farm work.