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Succession Plans

A succession plan is used to transfer ownership of a property or business to someone else before retirement or death. This is especially important in rural areas with older populations. In relation to the food system, succession plans can help preserve farmland, keep food production local, and keep grocery stores open. These are all important aspects of food access in rural areas.

According to a study by University of Minnesota Extension:

“...63 percent of [rural grocery] store owners said they do not intend to own their store 10 years from now,”

and most have no succession plan in place.

Losing food retailers or producers can affect food accessibility for the whole area. Having a plan in place for what happens with a property or business can protect not only individuals from legal battles over rights but also the community from losing important parts of the local food system.

Resources to Learn More

Business Succession: Keeping Grocery Stores Alive
Guide to developing a succession plan for a rural grocery store, including considerations to specific circumstances.
Organization(s): Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University
Date: 12/2014

Farm Transfer and Estate Planning
Resources developed by University of Minnesota Extension that walk farmers through estate planning and the process of transferring farm ownership.
Organization(s): University of Minnesota Extension

Planning for Farm and Ranch Succession
Intended for agricultural producers. Provides general and in-depth succession planning information related to family, financial, legal, and power transfer topics.
Organization(s): Kansas State University Extension

Succession Planning Tools Menu
A variety of succession planning templates and resources developed by the Farm Journal Legacy Project for family farmers developing succession plans. Resources are organized into five stages of succession: getting started, family harmony, financial management, tax and legal issues, and leadership development.
Organization(s): Farm Journal Legacy Project