Ag Conversations


A Formula for Transition Success: Assess, Collaborate and Implement

Feb 07, 2019
By: Dana A. Springer

In our last blog, we opened a conversation about whether you operate your farm or ranch as a business or as a lifestyle, and what that means for your future. Now that you’re thinking about this and looking at your farm or ranch operation, it’s time to consider the transition planning process.

The good news is, there’s plenty of help to go through your options and get you started. To assist you in creating and implementing your transition plan, Wipfli’s Business Transition Group (BTG) brings together a team of professionals with experience in succession and business transition planning, corporate planning and entity structure, estate planning and a depth of knowledge of the ag industry. Our team has established a three-phase process to make the experience manageable and thorough yet agile enough to help ensure that the result fits your unique situation.

Phase 1: Assessment

The first phase involves one-on-one interviews with you and any other owners, as well as your potential successors. In this phase we can gain an understanding of your business, operations, management and financial condition. We use a Transition Readiness Index to develop a scorecard of the current state of the business, its strategic plan, the owners and the successors.

At the end of Phase 1, we provide a readiness assessment report summarizing our understanding and identifying recommendations for the second phase.

Phase 2: Collaboration

The collaboration phase involves an in-person working session to discuss potential paths to get to your desired outcome and create the conceptual design framework for the plan. At the end of the collaboration meeting, we develop an implementation roadmap. This roadmap outlines the actionable items to be addressed, prioritizes steps and leads to the final phase of implementation.

Phase 3: Implementation

The implementation phase is different for each operation, as it is tailored to fit individual needs. In this phase, we work with your team of trusted advisors, including bankers, lawyers and insurance agents, to implement your roadmap and complete the transition plan.

Transition planning is a process that is customized to each situation. While we have a general process that we follow, we are also agile and recognize that each situation is unique, and often there are many roads that lead to success. We’re helping you plan the route.

If you have recognized a need to start planning, we are here to help. Contact one of our Ag BTG specialists today to start the conversation.


Dana A. Springer, CPA
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