£2.7m court payout due to family feud

£2.7m court payout due to family feud

Many people have read the sad situation publicised last week of a dairy farming family feud resulting in a payout of £2.7m from the court. It was such a sad event to hear about and my sympathy goes to all family members. Not only has this resulted in a fractured family but probably a ruined business. It is easy to hear a story like this and think that could never happen to you, however it could! I don’t know the family but I am sure they are just an ordinary family like the rest of us. So what can we […]

What if????

It’s always important when thinking about a succession plan that you ask the ‘what if’ questions. I’m sometimes told that I am being negative when I start talking about what could go wrong but that is what risk analysis is all about. You can never cover all bases but at least having a plan for unwelcome outcomes means you are not panicked into unhelpful or disastrous actions. There are the obvious ‘what if’ questions like – ‘what if someone dies?” Is there an up to date Will in place.  Do we have enough knowledge to be able to continue the […]

Keep promises to the younger generation

Many young people are encouraged to come home to the family business with promises that the business and responsibilities will soon be theirs. However in many cases this is a false promise. Sadly I have come across many young people and even more older people who are still waiting for the responsibilities to pass to them. A man spoke to me a few weeks ago and said “Last week I was promised that I would be running the business in 5 years time. I first heard that promise 7 years ago.” This situation leads to frustration and disillusion and in […]

Happy New Year – An exciting 2019 is on the cards!

Happy New Year. I hope 2019 will be a good year for us all. How about making one of your resolutions to make a start on your succession plan! I will be working on my succession plan in 2019. I trained four people over a year ago and I plan to make sure they are confident to take on some areas of the UK for me. I won’t be retiring for a good while yet but I need to make better use of my time by travelling less miles. So my associates Jo Speed, Laura Teasdale. Neil Adams and Becky […]

Begin with the end in mind

I came across this quotation recently, “ I’ve learned to envision the ideal end to any project before I begin it now – even the best gigs don’t last forever. Nor should they.” (Samin Nosrat) It made me think that this is a good idea for those young people entering the farming industry now. Yes you have to have the conversation about your involvement in the business now and in the future. But what about thinking of how you will exit the industry? This is often seen as a negative move but with proper planning this can be seen as […]

No Successor ? – What about a joint venture?

I often hear the comment “What do I do if I haven’t got a successor?” Maybe the next generation are not interested and selling the farm is a step many would not want to take. Selling would also involve tax considerations and let’s face it putting the money in the bank at current interest rates is not a good option. The family may want to keep the farm in case the grandchildren are interested. The older generation try to struggle on having a detrimental affect on their health. Others rent out the land on seasonal lets which can mean buildings […]

Young women can’t be what they can’t see.

I heard the title quoted on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour this morning and thought it very appropriate for the agricultural industry. The president of the NFU is a woman, we have many excellent journalists and consultants, we have women who are celebrated for their contribution to farm diversification however where are the women successors to the family farm? They are there but are they visible enough to encourage young women to realise that a career as a farmer or farm worker is a serious option? There are many women who are the main farmer in a farming business as well […]

Is there bullying on the family farm?

I recently was given a list of indicators of workplace bullying that made sobering reading. These are the indicators used in many industries that assess if people are being bullied at work. Listed below are just some of them. Someone continually checking up on you or your work when it is not necessary. Having your opinions or views ignored. Being treated in a disrespectful or rude way. Being insulted or having offensive remarks made about you. Gossip and rumours being spread about you or having allegations made against you. Being humiliated or ridiculed in connection with your work. (Sincere thanks […]

Don’t Live Within Sight of the In-Laws!

“Don’t live within sight of the in-laws”. When I say that in a workshop it results in lots of laughter and some guilty looks. Yes I know some people live very close to each other on the farm yard and get on fine. In fact they find it useful to have baby sitters on hand. However I have seen the other side on frequent occasions. Living too close to the in-laws can result in divorce and serious mental health issues in my experience. I’ve met daughters-in-law who feel they are being bullied by their mother-in-law and sisters-in-law and sons who […]

Starting the Conversation

I’m very pleased that Farming Connect in Wales have published a booklet called ‘Start the Conversation’. I was happy to be part of the contribution process and I hope it will be a very helpful tool for farming families. I am often asked how to start the conversation on succession. In an ideal world it should be a regular topic of discussion as it is part of  business planning. Ideally the older generation should start this conversation. It is for them to have planned when they wish to step back and transfer responsibilities and assets. Unfortunately this is not always […]


Siân Bushell Associates based in South West Wales empowering family businesses in Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England by asking the hard questions to facilitate succession planning for change and growth.


Sian Bushell Associates
Rock House
SA62 4PN

Tel: 07733 238 986
email: info@sianbushellassociates.co.uk

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