Clare O’Keeffe is a 2006 Nuffield Scholar whose research topic was ‘Succession planning for farm families – an Irish and global perspective’.
The outcome of Clares studies culminated in the founding of Succession Ireland Mediation Services.
From an organic base inspired by Nuffield studies I have created a safe confidential space for farm owners to stop, reflect and plan their individual farm progression plan. The technical and management knowledge on farms is openly more discussable and can be measured managed and a plan created to cater for the individual farm business. The more difficult and emotionally charged topics, which for many remain deferred indefinitely, is the topic of farm transfer and succession planning. Farming in rural Ireland is in transition post quota era. In isolation with minimal off farm interaction, many farmers are alone with their thoughts yet aware that time stands still for no one but not knowing how to start that progression transfer conversation. With an aging population the challenges will only increase unless a clear planned transition including entry and exit is discussed in conjunction with family members while seeking professional advice and guidance to ensure best practise.
Waiting until the asset owner ‘is carried out’ meaning until the Will is read is not prudent planning for any business sector. These ‘softer’ topics are addressed as part of the offering provided by Succession Ireland .
Some of the services provided by Succession Ireland are integral to the smooth transition of family farm businesses in Ireland and beyond. Based on research and personal experience gained from Teagasc Succession Clinics nationwide there is need and demand for this facilitated communications service. The awareness of ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’ but we must do something.
Clare offers a mediation service with expertise in facilitating a succession planning conversation. From starting the conversation to completion and this may vary with all families generally family harmony is a priority with a the positive outcome of a workable harmonious family farm business succession plan.