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How old do you think the average Michigan farmer is?
I attended the Michigan Food Processors & Agri-Business Summit last week. It was full of great information and insight, including a staggering statistic regarding the average age of the Michigan farmer. A number of folks were shocked at the statistic and wondered out loud, "what will happen to those farms and that food they now produce when those farmers are forced to retire?" It isn't clear yet how much value will be lost if those farmers, and the food processors that they sell to, do not implement appropriate planning measures to address this eventuality.
Not only do the individual farmers and their families need to put in place sufficient business succession and estate planning tools (meaning, what will happen to the farm business when the current farmer can no longer operate the farm), but the food processors need to, as part of managing their own supply chains, ensure a continuous and uninterrupted supply from their farmers so as to remain competitive in their own right. I would encourage farmers and families to call us for assistance with business succession issues, and for food processors to call us for assistance in mitigating the risks associated with "retiring suppliers."