Farmers leaving their legacy at risk

Some 40,000 farmers have not planned who in their family will succeed them when they retire, according to an NFU Mutual survey.

Some 40,000 farmers have not planned who in their family will succeed them when they retire, according to an NFU Mutual survey.

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MORE THAN half of the UK’s family farms are facing an uncertain future because of a lack of succession planning, rural insurer NFU Mutual warns.

A survey commissioned by the insurer found that 54 per cent of farmers - or 40,000 farmers - have not made plans for the next generation to take over the running of their land when they retire - although many farmers said they had no plans to retire in the first place.

Sean McCann, chartered financial planner at NFU Mutual, said: “These findings are deeply worrying. Most farms are family run, which can often make it difficult to discuss who will take over the business, or how it will be divided between children. However, in today’s highly competitive global market, family farms which don’t have a clear succession plan and a long-term future mapped out risk falling behind and becoming financially unviable.”

The difficulty of raising who will take over the farm was why 46 per cent of farmers surveyed said there was no plan in place, and a third of farmers said the reason was that the farm could only support one successor.

In more than one in four cases, the farmer had no plans to retire; 24 per cent because they could not afford to retire and 18 per cent because of family conflict.

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