Estate planning is not a one-man operation. Instead, farmers should make sure that the entire family is involved.  |  File photo

How a model canoe is like family farm succession plan

My wife gave me my 54th birthday present back in February. It was a long cardboard box not quite 1.5 metres long, 25 centimetres wide and 10 cm deep. As I took off the wrapping paper she watched for my reaction and, as it wasn’t immediately obvious what she had got me, I took my […] Read more

Reasonability and the law of unforeseen consequences

One of my strict rules when dealing with the transition process of a family farm is to include all the family members and to speak to them on a one-on-one basis. I do this so that I have a full understanding of the views and issues faced by them all. This includes inactive children, and […] Read more

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Preserve your farm legacy with sound succession advice

The people and events in this column are based on real MNP clients. Chuck Addison was chilling out at the cottage by Green Lake, Sask., celebrating with his two brothers, Randy and Max. He kidded them about their bickering and how, despite themselves, they could make a good go running the family farm. After two […] Read more


Conflict resolution can be a slow process, involving compromise, forgiveness and understanding.  |  Getty image

Sometimes we simply don’t want to resolve conflicts

I recently finished reading The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks, a true life account of growing up and working on a sheep farm in England’s Lake District and how the farm moved from one generation to the next and the author’s relationship with his father ebbed and flowed. It is a gritty, honest account of […] Read more

Young farmers often live under parental microscope

I probably stopped paying much attention to my father’s opinion when I reached 18. Of course, I take a lot more notice of it now as I’ve become older and realize the value of his life experience. However, back then I had left home, either working on a farm or attending agriculture college, and our […] Read more


Issues to consider in finding ideal method in passing on family farm

Canadian farmers are facing a dilemma. Rising land values have created a new problem in which farm families hold a significant amount of wealth, and the traditional solution to the estate plan — the use of life insurance and other non-farm assets — is no longer valid. Life insurance and non-farm assets still have a […] Read more

Fundamental flaws of independent culture

Most of the farmers I have met are proud people who are fiercely independent and resent outside influence. They see advisers and professionals as parasites whose only goal is to take away their hard-earned money while providing nothing of substance in return. However, as a result of this independence, I have also seen many potentially […] Read more

The six dimensions of enterprising farm families

I have previously written about farm owners moving away from a managerial and operational mind set to one of a strategic investor and entrepreneur. The original idea came from an article by Tim Habbershon and Joseph Pistrui, Enterprising Families Domain: Family-Influenced Ownership Groups in Pursuit of Transgenerational Wealth, which hypothesized that wealth creation across generations […] Read more


Growing family farm requires sophisticated strategic thinking

Like most family businesses, the family farm is a complex cauldron of human relationships, business needs and ownership expectations. Formal communication policies and governance and legal agreements are often missing or inadequate, even when the farm is in a partnership or company structure. Informal structures and processes have traditionally been accepted as the norm, and […] Read more