GERMANY 05

1. Intro

The predecessor took over his grandfather’s farm, which at the time had seven hectares of land and seven cows. There have been some changes made over the past few years. Meanwhile, on the farm, all the fruit that is grown in the fields is refined, and together with all of the eggs laid by the 3000 chickens, the product is sold in the farm shop. On the arable land, the farmer - with the help of his family and external workers - grows almost exclusively fodder for the chickens. The grass from the meadows is cut and dried for hay and fed to the 16 pension-horses. The company is very cooperative and works closely with professional colleagues.

2. Promoter Profile

Name n.n.
Age 46
Gender Male
Education Farmer; Main / secondary school
Marital status Married
Number of children 2 (4 and 1 years old)

3. Farm Profile

Address Bavaria in Germany
Farm Area in ha 15 ha
Date since when the family owns the farm For 250 years
Nº of workers on the farm (Family members) 1 (Full time) 2 (Part time)
Nº of workers on the farm (Other than family members) 8 (Part time)

Farm description before succession

The father of the present operations manager took over the old homestead of his grandfather in 1968. At that time, the farm consisted of seven hectares of land and seven cows. The father cultivated sugar beets, malting barley, wheat, and starch potatoes. Later he bought the first chickens. It used to be a refining business. And the cultivation of the land was, especially after the succession only a second mainstay. The predecessor also managed a pig production operation together with six other companies. In 1970 a building was built to house the pigs in which there were 1600 feeding stalls. This was very revolutionary at that time, and it worked well and helped the company financially. The pig feeding structure was later sold and is still run by other farmers today. Before the hand-over, no horses were kept on the farm. The successor says these changes did not have anything to do with the transfer process, as the transfer was gradual.

FARM DESCRIPTION AFTER SUCCESION

There are currently three separate agricultural activities taking place on the farm The first is comprised of 15 hectares of arable land on which wheat, maize and soybeans are cultivated. All of this work is done by an agricultural contractor. Among other things, the entrepreneur is a board member in the machinery ring, which he founded together with six other farmers in 1993. The second activity concerns 16 horses that are kept in a modern active stable constructed by HIT. The concept behind this stable is that the horses can live out their natural behavioral patterns. Thus, they are in a group, can move about freely, are optimally fed with food and are very resistant to diseases and “box behavior”. The third activity involves a total of 3.000 chickens whose eggs are distributed mainly through wholesale trade. Each year, the company’s employees produce 30-40 tons of noodles and a certain amount of egg liqueur. These are mainly distributed through the farm shop. The wife of the manager is mainly responsible for the staff.

4. Succession Process

The father of the entrant never said the successor should or must “take over” the operation. He was free to decide his own future. At the same time, it was never discussed, but was nevertheless somehow clear to the family that he would take over the operation. He is one of five children - two girls and three boys, of which he is the second. The eldest son never had any interest in agriculture. 

At the age of 16, the successor began an agricultural apprenticeship. After two years of studying, he entered his father’s company at the age of 18. In principle, they operated together from this point onwards. According to the successor, the transfer process began at this time. He describes the process as a “gradual succession” and in his opinion the transfer process is still ongoing. Thus, the process began as the successor was 18, and now he is 46. He does not yet see the transfer as complete, because his father is still working on the farm. 

In the course of time, the father has transferred more and more tasks to the son, and today he cannot help much due to his age. At the beginning, as the successor was getting more and more responsibility, his satisfaction began to lessen. However, in retrospect, he feels that this type of hand-over is “the right way,” since one can get used to new tasks and responsibilities slowly. He finally signed the documents transferring the farm to him at the age of 26. 

There were many discussions about the succession before this time. Trust and communication are of great importance in this part of the process, according to the entrepreneur. 

The siblings had never been interested in joint management of the farm, because the operation was only designed for one person and after the death of the mother, the siblings had to be paid out for tax reasons. The siblings were each given a building site, the subcontractor got the farm and the associated work. So everyone was satisfied.

Threats/Challenges

He says about himself that he is not a “practical person”, but is more concerned about management. For this reason, training was very hard for him.

 

Otherwise, the operations manager could not name any problems. The hand-over process ran smoothly.

Main Training/Skills/Competences

The father participated in a succession workshop before handing over the business

A constant desire to improve makes you get the best out of yourself and the resources available

Good marketing

Love what you do and enjoy doing it

 

“I believe the key is that the older generation can let go and transfer responsibility to the younger generation.” 

“The know-how and the experience of the older generation is very worthy.” 

“The most important thing is communication with one another.” 

"Another tip from the successor in terms of financial matters: Initially, he was “hired” by his own father. The father then asked him how much he wanted to be paid. In addition, he told him that he could earn whatever he wanted. The only obligation was to repay the father the same amount after the succession."

advice

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

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