Hyde Park Farms is a broad acre farm in the Dalwallinu district of Western Australia, around 300k north east of Perth. Its main enterprise is the cropping of 8,800 hectares of wheat, barley, canola, lupins and field peas. The farm’s remaining hectares are either fallowed or utilised for a 1,300 head ewe flock used primarily for fat lamb production.
C E Hyde, a Victorian who ventured west, commenced farming in Dallwallinu in 1910 and was one of four pioneering families in the district. In 1918, a homestead was constructed on the property. These days, it is occupied by the newest member of the Hyde family who represents the sixth generation of C E Hyde’s descendants.
In the past 107 years, the family have had to adapt to changing conditions and deal with many challenges that come with life on the land. In recent years, these have involved:
- Adapting the cropping enterprise to changing rainfall distribution that has seen less rain in the winter months, traditionally the highest in rainfall
- Managing herbicide resistance
- Controlling escalating input costs, including the high cost of machinery utilised in modern precision farming that is essential to maximising water use efficiency to increase yields.
Managing complex tax and cash flow issues
Knowing the family members over a long period of time and understanding their history and plans for the future, Accru Perth has become a trusted advisor to Hyde Park Farms. As well as succession planning tax issues, they have helped the family navigate the changing landscape of income tax and state transfer duty which presents complex tax and cash flow considerations.
In the farming business, capital is king. Ian Hyde shares this piece of advice: “Make sure you have a relationship with your banker that provides you with the capability to manage your business as you see best. Ensure funding lines are available to enable you to act with autonomy.”
Successful Intergenerational transtions
Hyde Park farms is also a success story in terms of family succession. The farming operation is now in the process of being passed from the current owners, Peter and Pamela Hyde, to their two sons.
Planning is underway to effect a transfer of the land holdings to ultimately allow the current sons Ian and Ainslie to farm independently and, if all goes to plan, pass their farms to the next generation. Accru Perth has been instrumental in providing sound structuring and income tax advice.
Achieving smooth intergenerational transfers over a century is no easy feat. When we asked how the family have been able to work so well together and achieve this, their answers were:
- Have a clear, focussed and written plan on both a strategic and operational level. Put simply, you need to know where you are heading and how you are attempting to get there. This needs to be reviewed regularly to adapt to changing circumstances and the challenges faced.
- Manage the different priorities and expectations of all those involved in the process. Communication is the key – start the communication process early and explain why decisions are made. Ensure the communication between parties is clear and concise and correctly reflects their issues and point of view.
- Involving an independent third party to co-ordinate and manage the transition will be beneficial if personalities begin to hinder the process.
- Pick the right battles and be willing to compromise.
- Be willing to accept and act on advice from independent professionals.
Why younger family members have stayed
The family’s patriarch, Peter, also identified a number of external factors he believes have been important in seeing family members forsake other career opportunities and return to the farm. These he said are predominantly strong family ties, involvement in the local community and church, a love for farming, an appetite for hard work and, all things being equal – financial reward!