Richard Soffe1, Matt Lobley2

1Duchy Rural Business School, Chudleigh, Devon, United Kingdom

2Centre for Rural Policy Research, Exeter University, UK, Devon, United Kingdom



The topic of handing on the family farm to the next generation does not appear to become any easier. Many techniques have been used to aid discussions, tax and legal planning.  The use of simulations with professional actors role playing difficult scenarios has been tried with success across four countries of the UK over a two year period. The presentations and workshops resulted in increased uptake up of professional services to discuss the details of succession planning.

The events used a package of videos, powerpoint and discussion to catalyse succession discussion.


Richard Soffe is Director of the Rural Business School (RBS) at Duchy & Bicton Colleges,UK and he is also Chairman and Director of Rural Business Research, UK. RBS works with 18,000 farmers and rural businesses across SW England.In his role as Director at RBS, Richard works in partnerships, with the, University of Exeter, Rothamsted Research, University of Plymouth. He studied Agriculture at Seale Hayne, University of Plymouth and gained a Masters Degree in Management and Marketing at Cranfield University. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies of England, Wales, N.Ireland and Scotland.Richard is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at University of Exeter and works with staff in the Centre for Rural Policy Research both on combined research projects and the Farm Business Survey (FBS). He joined the Leadership for the 21st Century Programme; Harvard University, USA and has been invited back to guest lecture at Harvard. Richard has edited the standard work in Agriculture for students, namely The Agricultural Notebook and recently co-authored ‘Agriculture’ from Oxford University press 2016. Richard is Course Director for the prestigious ‘International Rural Leadership programme’ for the Worshipful Company of Farmers and was formerly the Director of Professional Development at the University of Plymouth.

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