Sometimes bad things happen. Although we don't like to think about it, we need to plan for it. Natural disasters, serious injuries, divorce and unexpected death can all threaten the family farm operation. Farm contingency planning helps prepare for an unexpected event and can help ensure the long-term survival of the farm. The more prepared you are, the better you are able to deal with and recover from the situation at hand.
Contingency planning is an important part of farm or ranch management. A contingency plan determines how a farm will respond to a crisis or disaster and how quickly it will be able to resume normal operations. Key decision makers can jump into action without having to come up with a plan in the middle of a crisis. If something tragic happens, are you prepared? Farmers need to have transition plans in place for different emergency situations. Southern States®, together with Nationwide® Agribusiness Insurance, has some key items to consider when developing your contingency plan.
Farming is one of the most dangerous professions with the potential for causing serious injuries. If you were seriously injured or permanently disabled, would the farm survive? Plan ahead and make sure both family members and employees know the daily routine and that several people are trained for each essential farm task. Known as cross training, this business management approach can keep the farm running if you become injured and are unable to work for a while. In addition, talk to your insurance agent about disability coverage. It can provide the income needed to keep the farm operating.
What would happen if you and your spouse divorced? Would it shut down the farm? Smart planning in advance can prevent a divorce from turning into a financial disaster. The ideal solution is to have a pre-nuptial agreement in place that can help protect the farm when the family assets are divided. If you are already married, without a prenup, and contemplating divorce, meet with your financial advisor or lawyer to understand how your state divorce laws can impact your farming business.
If a catastrophe occurs, would you be able to recover? A fire, flood or tornado can undo years of hard work in a matter of minutes destroying crops, killing livestock and damaging buildings and equipment. Without enough coverage to replace your losses, the family farm business could be ruined. Review your farm insurance policy periodically to make sure it covers the replacement cost of your barns, equipment and livestock.
What if the worst happened and you were killed in an accident? Would your family know what to do? Who would run the farm? Who would inherit the land and equipment? How can you keep things fair amongst family members? Qualified farm estate planners can help structure your estate to transition ownership and help minimize taxes. It’s important that you make decisions in advance about how your estate should be settled so that your loved ones will have a transition plan in place if a fatal tragedy occurs.
At Southern States®, we are proud to be a farmer-owned cooperative. Southern States has partnered with Nationwide® to offer Southern States Cooperative member-producers in North Carolina and Virginia special discounts on farm insurance. In addition to giving you exclusive insurance savings, we're also joining forces to support the cooperative that means so much to you.
Nationwide® Agribusiness is the number 1 insurer of farms in the U.S. and a leading insurer of commercial agribusiness. Go to nationwide.com/southernstates to find a local agent.