With the average age of farmers and ranchers at 58 years, the conversation of how to transition the ranch to the next generation should be at the forefront of every ranch owner’s and manager’s mind. Director and Endowed Chair in Ranch Management at KRIRM Clay Mathis, Ph.D., explains that succession planning involves not only transitioning assets, but also leadership and management, which is equally significant in the success and health of a business.

“The value of ranch assets has increased dramatically in the past two decades, as has the complexity of operating an agricultural business,” said Mathis. “It is important to successfully transition ranch assets to the next generation, as well as pass on the ranch business leadership and management.”

Both younger and older generations of ranchers, owners and managers will benefit from the symposium presentations, which will help them understand each other’s wishes for the business.

“In the ranch transition process, it is important that the older generation understands what the younger generation wants, and likewise that the younger generation be aware of the desires of the older generation,” explained Mathis. “Only when the desires of both generations is on the table and understood, can a successful transition process begin.”

The event will begin with a keynote address by farm and ranch succession planning expert Dick Wittman about taking inventory and positioning your ranch for effective succession and building the right team of advisers to guide attendees through the process. Next, Margaret Vaughan of MCV Consulting will detail the phases in the succession process by providing instruction on how to initiate the succession planning conversation, create a shared ranch vision for the future and formalize the ranch decision-making model and governance. The agenda also includes guidance by attorney James Decker on estate planning and the transfer of assets to the next generation. Representatives from Padlock Ranch, McFaddin Enterprises, King Ranch and R.A. Brown Ranch will wrap up the symposium presentations, explaining how each of these successful operations have remained in the family through the generations. Each session will conclude with a panel-style question and answer session for attendees to interact with speakers.


“We want attendees at this year’s symposium to take away from this event a clear understanding of what all is involved in a solid succession plan, and most importantly, we want attendees to leave with the courage to begin the conversation that will start a successful generational transfer.”

Registration is $150, which includes admission to an industry trade show during symposium, a steak dinner on Thursday, Oct. 26 – during which the Texas Farm Credit Certificate in Advanced Ranch Management awards are presented – and an in-depth tour of King Ranch that concludes the symposium on Friday, Oct. 27. For more information about the symposium, to download the agenda and to register, visit the KRIRM website.  end mark

—From King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management news release