How many farmers have a five or even 10-year plan for their farm? It is hard to gauge in the dairy industry but based on statistics it is assumed that very few have considered their long-term future.
Farmers are proactive in implementation and demonstrate expert knowledge about animal health, husbandry, nutrition and production but there is a serious lack when you start asking questions around financial preparedness – in particular retirement and succession. It’s a problem that has been studied by several leading Australian universities.
With 60 per cent of all Australian farms being family owned and with an ageing farming population it is something that Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation is concerned about for members.
“Passing on the management of farming assets to the next generation is often a complicated and emotional process but the Queensland dairy industry can’t afford to lose any more. We’ve lost over 300 farms in the last 10 years and we run the risk of extinction if we don’t start talking about the future. We can’t afford to lose farms due to not having a skilled successor selected or because of a family property dispute,” Recovery and Resilience program project officer Torie Harrison said.
“We’d all like to think we can manage on the farm forever, but you need to have a plan in place for when the unexpected happens. As much as you store feed and water for any severe weather events that may occur, our farmers need to plan for the five Ds : disability, debt, divorce, disagreement and death.”
There is no one-fits-all solution and the legal and financial jargon can be overwhelming. With the help of financial experts in the field, QDO has developed a program to assist farmers explore the options and find one that suits their individual farm and family. Securing the future for the industry starts with securing the future of the individuals within. The first workshops are being held in Beaudesert (May 15) and Marburg (June 12). Bookings can be made through QDO on 3236 2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
By: Eric Danzi, QDO Executive Officer
Source: North Queensland Register