GERMANY 04

1. Intro

The dairy cattle business is in a very good location in a metropolitan area, and has developed significantly in the last 20 years. Until 2006, four generations lived under one roof. Today, the successor and his wife and their three children live in their own home on the farm. They have 70 dairy cows. Some of the offspring of these cattle are housed in a separate operation with which the successor has a business cooperation agreement. Seventy hectares of agricultural land are under cultivation.

2. Promoter Profile

Name n.n.
Age 42
Gender Male
Education Farmer / Mechanic Journeyman; Member of the Audit Committee for Agricultural Education
Marital status Married
Number of children 3 children

3. Farm Profile

Address Bavaria in Germany
Farm Area in ha 70 ha
Date since when the family owns the farm For five generations
Nº of workers on the farm (Family members) 2 (Full time) 1 (Part time)
Nº of workers on the farm (Other than family members) 0

Farm description before succession

In 1996, the father (predecessor) with the son (successor) founded a family business. From this point on, the predecessor had full-time employment in the local municipality. At this time, 25 dairy cows and their offspring were kept on the farm, and 30ha of agricultural land were cultivated. The old homestead was rebuilt in the 1970s after it had been completely destroyed by fire. The production capacity of the farm was gradually expanded. Previously, only 40 dairy cows and their offspring had been kept on the farm. In 1998 a barn for 70 cows and a portion of their offspring was built. The background for the step-by-step approach to increasing the herd size was the very high price that was being paid for additional milk quotas at this time. Calculation of the necessary quotas for adding additional capacity was complicated because it was unclear whether procurement of additional quotas was based on the performance of an individual herd (or farm) or the average for the region.

FARM DESCRIPTION AFTER SUCCESION

After the succession in 2007 (the predecessor was at this time 55 years old), the successor continued to cautiously increase the capacity of the farm. The herd output is good, and part of the milk is now being processed into cheese that is marketed in cooperation with a butcher shop. The farmer is part of a working group of dairy farmers organized by the Office of Agriculture and is also active in the Audit Committee for Agricultural Education. The successor makes an effort to control the number of labor hours the company requires. In addition to his wife and son, his mother helps with the milking. Networking with professional colleagues and openness to positive encounters helps the family of the successor very much in furthering their operational goals, which will go even further towards direct marketing and possibly the production of hay milk or organic milk.s.

4. Succession Process

All family members involved in the succession were always interested in living harmoniously together. However, in the early days this was a challenge, as from 1997 to 2007 four generations lived together under one roof. All parties did their best to get along, but it was clear to the successor family that this could not be a permanent situation. In the end, the construction of the successor´s new house was connected with the transfer of property and the compensation of the other heirs. This resulted in surprisingly high demands from the two brothers and sisters. Counseling was consulted in order to ensure the harmony of the family by limiting the emotional component of the discussion. With the help of moderation obtained from an external consultant, an agreement was reached which resulted in a high financial burden for the successor, but was still seen as acceptable for all of the parties involved. The most important thing for the entrepreneur and his wife was that everything was finally clarified, and also that they could have their own space in their own dwelling. The successor´s wife stated clearly: "Your own living space helps! You also need your space with your own family! " Today the relationship with all parties is good. During the week, lunch is provided at the predecessor´s house. There is a common freezer from which everyone is able to help himself. The 15-year-old son is in agricultural training, as he also wants to enter the company. Thus, all stakeholders see today's situation and the outcome of the succession as a success.

Threats/Challenges

Financial security of successor’s family: many companies and father-son operations are run like this. "It will be handed over at some point!" Thus, many companies have already had problems with sucession. It is important to also consider the financial situation of the young families. In this respect it was urgent to clear these things up.

Letting go: Letting go was particularly difficult for the wife of the predecessor. The predecessor had already been in a permanent position for more than ten years and had little to do with the agricultural operation in practice. His wife, however, was in a central point of the action, and was afraid that something would change with the succession.

Living space: It is important to live separately from each other. It works. You can arrange. But, if the possibility exists, each family should have its own living space or at least their own entrance doors to separate apartments.

Economic points: it is difficult to do everything at once. Of course, it would always be better to first save some money, and then invest. But many things occurred at the same time for this enterprise: compensation of the heirs; investment in the operation and residential construction. The operation had priority: "first make money, then invest in individual needs!"

Main Training/Skills/Competences

Communication: it is very important to keep communication open between the generations. This was not optimal in the succession process. The successors want to do things differently. They are already talking about the topic with their children, and explaining what they think they need.

 

 

Ability to compromise: only in this way can a sense of justice be realized.

 

 

Rhetoric: this is very important: not only to present your own viewpoint, but to make clear where you want to go. It also helps with communication in general.

 

 

Networking and exchange of ideas: this is very important, not just within the agricultural community, but also outside. The wife of the entrepreneur leads the local choir and, as a cheese sommelier, is in contact with representatives in cheese processing and trade.

 

"It's important to focus on what you can do! What can I do, and what not! There you have to develop the company. The basis for this is harmony in the family. If this suffers - even in the succession process - it will be difficult for the operation!"

advice

5. Considerations, skills/competences and queries/questions.

TOP