NPR- Intergenerational Farm Transfer Research: Policy Implications
Public policy favoring the organization of agriculture through the farm family business has been a long held foundation of agricultural policy in the industrialize democracies. Much of this policy has been based upon an ideal typology that focuses upon the relationships of the farm and the family to the land and the processes that shape those relationships. An ideal typology that focuses on relationships provides little quantitative data and while such typology may be appropriate in developing it may not be appropriate to the implementation of such policy. The implementation of policy often requires some quantifiable data that will determine the inclusion or exclusion of farms for policy benefits. Given that policy favors family farms a key to their sustainability is the ability to transfer the farm land and the farm business to a successor generation. The complexity of the process of intergenerational transfer is little understood and under researched. This lack of research and the information that could be derived for it has affects the formulation of public policy.
The FARMTRANSFERS international farm succession research project has over 15,500 replications of a postal questionnaire. Accepting the limitation of time, location and culture it has produced a valuable and unique set of data that upon analysis yields insights into differences in farm policy based upon legal system and culture. A summary of selected policies is offered in by the authors of this paper. The paper concludes with observations on the future of the farm family business and the attributes of the successor of the future.
Keywords: family farm, successor, typology, research, public policy