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Selling a farming business

Deciding to sell a farming business may be a difficult decision for many farmers, but when no one in the family wants to take over running the farm there may be no other option. What is the best way, therefore, to approach selling your farm?

If you have explored all the options and decided that selling is the only way forward, then as with any other business, it is worth taking the time to prepare the farm for sale.

Firstly, identify your assets and what is saleable. It might not just be a case of selling your land, equipment and livestock. Look at what else gives value to your business. Is it worth more as a whole, as a going concern, or is it better to cease your own farming operations and sell it
off in lots?

Paperwork. Ensure all your paperwork is in order. This might be quite daunting for some farmers, but making sure that everything is up to date is crucial because it will give a higher value to your business and leave less room for negotiation once you find a buyer. Make sure you formalise any ad hoc agreements you have, especially with suppliers and customers.

Make sure you have lease agreements in place if you rent out any land and/or buildings that are used by third parties.

Land rights and future value. It may be possible and is worth investigating whether you can retain rights over the land, such as fishing rights on rivers, or put in place a covenant on any future development on the land.

Finally, don’t be afraid to take specialist advice before you decide or do anything. This will make sure you get the best price for all your hard work in building up the farm.

Paul Burbidge can be reached at p.burbidge@gullands.com