An ageing demographic, property prices, capital and continued urbanisation are combining to place enormous pressure on family farm succession in Queensland. Family farms still dominate the number of farm businesses in Queensland, and especially so in the pastoral sector. It is critical to ensure there are career pathways for the next generation to take Queensland’s sector into the future.
The Camm family, through the Camm Agricultural Group (CAG), was looking to reduce debt, find capital to invest in lifting productivity, and help facilitate an inter-generational transfer of assets and management. In 2017, CAG signed a $72 million deal with Rural Funds Group (RFG) to sell three cattle properties under a sale and leaseback arrangement, with CAG retaining management rights for the properties for 10 years, and ownership of all stock and plant on the properties. Additional funds were provided by RFG for infrastructure upgrades on the properties and for CAG to purchase additional cattle to be owned by RFG.
There is an important difference between business ownership and property ownership, and for families to remain in the business of farming, and move ahead with achieving their goals and aspirations, a rethink on property ownership and leasing arrangement is needed. Family farms have been the lifeblood of many rural and regional towns, and indeed this extends across the supply chain, so the inter-generational knowledge transfer needs careful planning and business strategies to ensure it is not lost.
This deal has solved a number of issues facing the pastoral industry in particular, and has meant a family-owned agricultural business can evolve to remain competitive and pass on the legacy to the next generation.
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