Handing over to next gen

NTCA conference guest speaker David Harland.
NTCA conference guest speaker David Harland.

THE cattle industry began in the Northern Territory almost 150 years ago, and remains a significant contributor to the NT economy, and a fundamental driver of income and employment in the regional areas of the NT.

While the ownership of the vast pastoral leases has always been a mix of corporate and family-owned businesses, it was the early pioneering families who first ventured to the regions and developed the industry that we know today.

Many of those family names are still in those regions, with fifth and sixth-generation pastoralists managing the same areas of the NT rangelands that their forefathers have done.

While the industry has changed a lot since those early days, one of the issues that each and every generation of pastoralists must deal with is the transition of the family business to the next.

The purpose of almost every family on the land, especially those that operate the same land that their family did before them, is to hand their life's work over to their children and give them the gift of a life on the land.

Succession is however, one of the biggest issues that families face.

Today's modern economy presents significant challenges for generational transition; difficult terms of trade, prolonged periods of drought, modernisation of agriculture and the resulting need for increase education, and the lure of stable income and jobs in urban centres, all contribute to the challenges facing both the young generation and their ability to transition into the family business, and their parents' ability to put the business in a position to hand over to their children.

In the last few years, the NT pastoral industry has seen a resurgence in enthusiasm among the younger generations to return to the land.

A run of good seasons and higher global demand for Australian beef and cattle has made it a little easier for families to put themselves in a position to manage the generational transition.

To provide insight into how to begin the journey that is succession, the Future NTCA will present David Harland as a speaker at the 2017 Annual NTCA Conference.

David Harland has been working exclusively with family businesses for almost 25 years.

As the managing director of FINH, David advises on family governance strategies and implementation, business transitions and succession planning and sourcing capital and finance options.

David has worked with family businesses across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, many of whom have transitioned into and beyond their third generations.

He holds both national and international accreditation in the field of family advising and family wealth.

David is a respected commentator and speaker in the family business sector.

He provides thought leadership and writes regular columns in The Australian, Smart Company and InTheBlack.

The Future NTCA was first established in 2014 to foster and develop leadership skills within the Northern Territory beef industry's next generation of leaders.

Now approaching its fourth year, the program has seen participation by a diverse group of young Territorians with a wide range of backgrounds and skills, all aspiring to contribute to strengthening the pastoral industry.

The program has been successful in optimising the potential of the industry's youth; capturing new ideas, networking and injecting renewed enthusiasm.

A special part of the program is for the Future NTCA to present a speaker and topic during the annual NTCA conference program, and this year's presentation about dealing with succession promises delegates a new level of insight into this important topic.

The NTCA conference will be held in Darwin on March 30-31.

For more information visit

Topics:  column northern territory succession planning

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