Ever since last year's proposed changes by the federal government on business structures and tax planning for farmers, I am asked continually by farming clients and others in the agriculture community about what they need to do today to protect their family farm. The recent tweets and media statements over the past couple of weeks have continued to raise the level of uncertainty for many Canadian farmers. It’s something that I have been telling farmers for years, we know the laws that are in place today to offer your farm business protection, what we don’t know is what is in store in the future. Today’s farms are businesses. Many are massive businesses. And most involve family members. In a time of uncertainty about the future, it is a reminder the best time to plan for protection is now. Proper agreements, a training and development plan, a financial plan, equalization of other stakeholders and how your life is funded post-farming, are all components that require planning to happen before it becomes too late. I started in the financial services industry close to 20 years ago after the sudden loss of my father and my family faced the consequences of the right things not being planned on my family farm. My dad, like so many farmers today, didn’t take time to plan for the “what if’s” with his professional team and he didn’t communicate his intentions. There was no legacy for my own family farm business. I am the first to understand today’s competing priorities. But when the issue of uncertainty rises about what is in store for the future of agriculture, it’s always a good reminder to communicate with your family and your professional team your intentions and ensure there is a proper plan to protect it. Farm Life is a benefit program partner of OFA, offering members exclusive discounts and preferred rates on their succession planning services.
Darrell Wade is the founder of Farm Life, a farm management company that works with families to build continuity on the farm through succession, transition and tax efficient estate plans.