Anne Elizabeth Dooley1 and Iona Anne McCarthy2

1Perrin Ag Consultants Ltd, Palmerston North, New Zealand

2College of Business, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand



Farm succession planning is becoming increasingly complex requiring technical and process consultancy input from a range of rural professionals. However, despite the impact RPs have on succession planning, research on RPs’ farm succession consultancy is scarce. A case study with six rural professionals experienced in succession planning consultancy was conducted to seek information on farm succession consultancy roles and processes. This paper reports on the processes of the four who facilitated the entire process.  All four incorporated the aspects recognised as being important in succession consultancy. However, there was considerable variation between their processes in the manner in which they processed through the steps, how they addressed issues, and managed people dynamics, their time frames and their emphasis on certain aspects. Their professional roles, client relationships, client’ expectations, their beliefs, skills and knowledge, confidence and background all contributed to these differences. This variability in their process suggests that defining a prescriptive process for effective succession planning consultancy beyond general guidelines is impractical. A range of approaches is likely to be effective, although some practices could be more effective than others and this may be worth further exploration.


Dr Liz Dooley is a Senior Consultant (Research) for Perrin Ag Consultants Ltd based in Palmerston North, New Zealand. She has previously worked in farm management and agribusiness research roles for The Centre of Excellence in Farm Business Management (Massey University), where the work for this paper was undertaken, and AgResearch Ltd.

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