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Farm family discusses two-year succession planning process

A southern Indiana farm family recently completed a two-year succession planning process. 

Brothers Mark and Wayne Seib provide senior leadership to the farm that now includes Wayne’s two sons, Carl and Matthew.

“My nephews were wanting to come back to the farm, but we just didn’t know how quite to make it all work or make sure the legal aspects were met and were satisfactory,” he says. “I had some goals, Wayne had some goals, they had some goals, and we basically hired a gentleman to be a referee.”

Mark tells Brownfield it was a thorough process of going over life insurance, wills, and goals for the operation. He says it was very beneficial to have a third-party help guide them during planning.   

“We did find some issues that needed to be addressed that we were not aware of. We took care of that, and implemented our plan of succession on January 1st of this year. It took us almost two years to complete by the time we went through partnership agreements and trying to work it all out,” he says. “We separated the land from the farm to give us better coverage for liability and it also met some of my goals to keep the land so that I can pass that down to my daughters, who work off the farm, and give them some value in the land and farming operation I’ve been so involved in.”

Advice he has for other farmers considering transitioning the farm to the next generation is to find an advisor they trust.

“Make sure you have a good working relationship with them and make sure they ease into it and do not ask for all your financial papers in the very first meeting,” he says. “Make sure it’s a good relationship and then by all means give them everything you have because if you hide something it puts them behind the eight ball with trying to give you a true, good picture of what you need to do to make the succession plan work to the best ability it can.”   

Seib Farms, which dates back to 1898, was part of this year’s Purdue University Farm Management Tour.

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