FROM THE CHAIR
A Q&A with Grain Farmers of Ontario chair, Markus Haerle.
Q. What are some of the lessons you have learned through succession planning?
A. I will tell you straight off the bat that succession planning is easily the most stressful time in your life as a parent or child. So I want to say, if you are finding yourself anxious or depressed during or after the process, reach out. There are resources for you.
The lesson I took to heart was: Don’t wait until the last minute. Be proactive. Don’t let age dictate when this should be done.
It is vital to understand all the finances. This really dictates what can be done. You have to take into account others who are not involved in the day-to-day business and what their expectations are, or what parents expectations are for them. Is the farm a business or is it a valued asset that people want to divide?
I would urge people to make sure they work with a financial institution that is looking at everything to help keep the integrity of the business structure. If farms were in a growing period before succession, the financials might be tight and then the bank could put roadblocks in the way for other growth planning on the farm for upwards of 50 years.
In hindsight, I would urge people to try to be very communicative throughout the process. It can be difficult, but we sat down with advisors almost immediately, and we could have had some personal discussions first. Then before everyone sits down with advisors or experts, meet with them one on one. Make sure everyone trusts them to understand each other’s priorities. Also, sometimes people forget the spouses — and they are engaged in the process too and they don’t always get a voice at the table.
Another thing that people need to acknowledge is that different cultural backgrounds actually play quite a large role in succession. If there is a way your ancestors did things traditionally, that line of thinking can crop up and you need to be prepared for it. •
Do you have a question for our chair? Email GrainTALK@gfo.ca.
by Philip Shaw
On October 10, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) pegged U.S. national corn production to come in at 13.8 billion bushels, based on a U.S. national yield of 168.4 bushel per acre, on a harvested acreage of 81.8 million acres. The USDA pegged beginning stocks for this year at 2.11 billion bushels and after adjustments for an increase in feed usage and decreasing ethanol use, ending stocks stood at 1.93 billion bushels. USDA reduced national soybean production to 3.55 billion bushels based on a U.S. national yield of 46.9 bushels per acre. They also trimmed harvested acreage to 75.6 million acres.
In Ontario as of October 29, soybean harvest is winding down and corn harvest ramping up. The Canadian dollar has been trading in the 75-76 cent U.S. range.
Corn basis levels have been maintained into August reflected in the compromised crop in Ontario and the greater eastern U.S. Corn belt. The Canadian dollar has been fluttering in the 75-76 cent level, which continues to support Ontario cash prices. •