Mike Stephens

Director Meridian Agriculture



In Australia there are 52,140 broadacre (sheep, beef cattle and crop) farms. Few of these farms have been retained in the ownership of the same family for three or more generations.  The majority are small and only thirty percent or 15,000 have any real chance of succession from a financial perspective.

Following a literature review it became apparent that whilst there have been many studies on succession and farm business management, few if any, had compared the competencies, attributes, attitudes, skill of the owners of the businesses which have remained in the same family with those which have not

The aim of the study was to contrast farm businesses which are continuing to and beyond the third generation with farm businesses which have not been retained by the family or have been retained but are no longer viable.The case study method was chosen to conduct the research because it offered the opportunity to contrast and compare businesses of a similar size operation in a similar climatic and the same economic environment.

The key attributes and actions of the people in the continuing businesses include;  planning  for succession long before they developed a succession plan,  team work, a shared belief that the dual aims of succession and the satisfaction of self-interest of non-farming family members is possible and agreement on the end game.

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The objective of the International Farm Management Association is to further the knowledge and understanding of farm business management and to exchange ideas and information about farm management theory and practice throughout the world. The IFMA is a non profit-making organisation and currently the Association has members in over 50 countries.

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Photography Credits

Tourism Tasmania, Barnbougle Dunes, Ray Joyce, Health Holden, Graham Freeman, Joe Shemesh, Glenn Gibson, Hobart City Council, Nick Osborne, National Trust Tasmania, Dale Baldwin, Brian Dullaghan, Rob Burnett, Alistair Bett, Alice Bennett, Wai Nang Poon, Chris Crerar, Kathy Leahy, Flow Mountain Bike, Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service, James Bowden, Masaaki Aihara, Sean Feennessy, Bruce Irwin, Liz Knox