We are seeing favourable seasons, markets, cash and comfort in agriculture. While this feeling of comfort is enjoyable, it comes with a risk. When you are comfortable, you feel at ease and restful, ready to fall asleep - tell me, who hasn’t sat down at 8 oclock at night and started settling in? When we’re comfortable we let old habits appear and become complacent. 

Rather than taking these favourable conditions as a reason to be at ease, we should be taking it as an opportunity to get uncomfortable. Family advisory boards provide a regular, structured process to make informed decisions about the running of farm businesses for future generations. 

Considering a family board is one of the best things you could do for your farm. Family boards provide structured processes that aid informed decision making for the running of the farm business. As a platform for discussion, they set the direction for the future of the business and improve communication between business and family members. 

A successful board will utilise an independent chair who can facilitate discussions in an effective way. The independent chair should possess a strong understanding of the decision making process, and could also bring further business skills to enhance their role like finance or human resources. 

Family boards have a number of benefits:

  • Shared decision making 

  • Improved communication 

  • Future-thinking discussions 

  • Diverse thinking and uncovering new ideas

  • Setting objectives and creating accountability 

Ask yourself:

  • What will a board do for me?

  • Who has the skills and attributes to contribute to my business?

  • Who can be upskilled and encouraged? 

  • If this were successful, what would it look like? 

The answer to the last question is your indicator. Like what the outcome could be? Get on with it and start the process for creating a family board.