LOCAL FLAVOUR: Farm Whisperer tackles tough subject of farm succession

Linda Geggie is executive director with CR-FAIR

With over half of local farmers looking to retire in the next decade we are going to see a major transfer of farm ownership in our region. One of the most challenging things facing retiring farmers is farm succession. Who will take over the farm? Many farm families struggle with facing how they can pass their farm to their children in a fair and transparent way? What if none of the children want to farm? How can we do it and still have retirement income?

The challenge around farm succession has been sitting with the Peninsula & Area Agricultural Commission (PAAC) and they recognize the need to support the farm community with this particularly challenging process. To this end they began to search for some expertise. Enter Elaine Froese. Elaine, they heard, is a “Farm Whisperer”. What, you might ask, is that? Well it is someone who works with farm families to tackle tough issues and come out intact and still friends on the other side.

READ ALSO: Food trees donated for public spaces in Greater Victoria

Elaine’s bio says she is a “coach who specializes in helping farm families’ work through issues surrounding succession, business or that family favourite – communication”. Elaine believes that courageous conversations are important and brings with her practical tools to help families work through hard subjects and take action.

With many farmers over the age of 60 in our region it seems to be a really topical issue for us. Who gets the family farm? What if there is no one to take it over, or who wants to take it over? To dig into this with local farmers, PAAC is hosting a workshop designed to “find fairness in farm transition, empower your family, increase farm profit and secure your legacy”. This workshop is designed for anyone who is either farming, or thinking of farming. Elaine is coming all the way from Manitoba to share her extensive experience.

It might be that no one in the family wants to take on the farm. What to do? Put your farm on the market and it is very likely that it will be bought as a rural estate. Many farmers would like to see their farms, that took hard work to establish and make successful, continue. One of the greatest barriers to new farmers is getting on the land. Are there options for continuing the farm as they retire with new farmers?

READ ALSO: Plant for pollinators this spring

Young Agrarians is an organization working to match up farmers both experienced and green, to landowners through the Young Agrarians Land Matching Program. The program is adapted from Quebec’s successful Banque de Terres (Land Bank) program and has been running successfully in Surrey and now has a position dedicated to supporting land matches on Vancouver Island. Leasing land is a real, viable solution for new farmers — however; it comes with its own set of unique challenges for both the land owner and the land leaser. Often there is the potential to develop a succession plan from this type of situation. Navigating this needs to allow for an exit strategy for the farm owners so that they can retire, while making it doable for the next generation of farmers on the land. Not easy, but not impossible. We are seeing examples of this working in our region.

Whether you have children or not, farm succession is inevitable. Even if you aren’t facing this today, it is likely you will be facing it in your future. I have read that almost half of farmers today don’t have a succession plan. It might be time to get working on this.

READ ALSO: Unlock the power of food

The PAAC, Direct Farm Marketing Association, CR-Fair, and Farm Credit Canada, host the workshop at the Saanich Fairgrounds on Stelly’s Cross Road, on April 10 from 1 to 5 p.m. Register before March 31, for an early bird rate of $25, after that date it will be $30. Space is limited. Visit crfair.ca to find the registration link, call Isobel at 250-507-1121 or email isobelhoffmann@shaw.ca for more information.

Linda Geggie is the executive director with the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable and can be reached at lgeggie@crfair.ca.

 

Just Posted

Province funds $88.6M for two new schools in Langford by 2022

Langford gets 500-seat elementary school and a 700-seat middle school

New secondary school planned for north Langford

Province announces $18.6 million in funding for site

Confusing parking lot blamed for cars tipping into flowerbeds at Peninsula Canadian Tire

Tow and repairs cost thousands, engineer says drivers’ responsibility, Canadian Tire stay quiet

Saanich says it will take months to fix a sink hole that appeared during ‘Snowmaggedon’

Roads closed in the area after the sink hole first opened in early February

Derelict trimaran removed from Oak Bay waters

Boat has been aground near Oak Bay Marina for over five months

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Most Read