Succession planning. The experts say it’s never too early to start. Unfortunately, it’s a topic that many farm families find difficult to tackle. Over the years, expectations sometimes develop about who will take over the farm and how it will be accomplished, but all too often the family members actually have very different expectations. There are tough questions to answer. Everybody needs to be on the same page. How can the younger generation afford to take over? What about the non-farming kids? Will the retiring generation have enough to live on? When and how will decision making be transferred? The people who work in farm succession planning say the first step is to have everyone talk frankly about what they want to see happen and how they see themselves fitting into the overall picture. The view of in-laws is also important. Until everyone’s aspirations are on the table, it’s tough to make any long-term plans. One family discussion may not be enough to launch succession planning, but you have to start somewhere. The upcoming holiday season might provide a good opportunity for a family meeting. I’m Kevin Hursh.