Iona Anne McCarthy1, and Anne Elizabeth Dooley2
1College of Business, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
2Perrin Ag Consultants Ltd, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Research on how rural professionals work is limited, with even less on their succession planning roles and processes. In farm succession planning, rural professionals work together to provide knowledge and skills from their respective fields. While accountants, lawyers and bankers are routinely involved, farm consultants are often overlooked as a source of succession planning advice and support. Case studies were conducted with six experienced rural professionals, including three farm consultants, to better understand how they worked with farm succession clients. This paper discusses the farm consultants’ succession planning roles through contrasting their views and processes. The farm consultants contributed to succession planning at all stages of the process. They often had stronger people and facilitation skills than other rural professionals for working with family and leading the process, know their clients and their businesses well, and already contributed to regular strategic planning. They provide objective advice and, have the expertise to identify and help implement business growth strategies over time to facilitate viable intergenerational transfer. Hence, it can be questioned whether greater awareness of consultants’ potential contribution is required by rural professionals and their farmer clients, and whether industry organisations have a role in raising this awareness and possibly accreditation.
Iona McCarthy is a Senior Lecturer in rural valuation in the School of Economics and Finance at Massey University. She is a registered valuer and farmed in partnership with her husband for 25 years. Her research focus in recent years has focused on farmland values and returns and farm management.