Sustainable Farm Succession

Living Lab Sustainable Farm Succession – Perspective of others  is a research project of the Climate Smart Dairy Value Chains research group.


A sustainable succession of an agricultural family business demands a lot from the individual who takes over, the individual who hands over and the rest of the family. It is complex because of sometimes conflicting family, business and ownership relationships, but also because of the growing size of the company and sustainability challenges. The 2017 coalition agreement of the Dutch government included support for "sustainable farm succession", divided into 2 phases. In phase 1, VHL developed a board game which focused on the soft side of agricultural succession, which was widely and successfully received. To consolidate this success, this board game will be further developed for use in education and professional practice in phase 2.

Project contribution

In this project, the prototype board game 'Around the Table' (analogue serious game from phase 1) will be (further) developed and validated with partners from the agricultural practice. Students and families play in a safe environment, under the guidance of teachers or agro coaches, the often undiscussed aspects and sometimes conflicting interests of farm succession. While playing, the board player experiences the perspective of other family members in the succession process (the player plays a different role than his/her actual position). During the test rounds, video recordings are made with the consent of the players, and analysed to implement board game improvements.

Project output

The project results in a consolidated board game in different variants, suitable for education and professional practice. Three types of board games will be delivered: 1. The basic model for education, the improved version from phase 1; 2. A variant for agro coaches with a checklist for debriefing; 3. A variant for lateral successors. The results of all projects from phase 1 (6 in total) are incorporated into the board game. The board game will be made available to Colleges and  Universities of Applied Sciences and to the agro coaches in professional practice.

Professor: Robert Baars
Lecturer-researchers: Gelein Biewenga, Iris Jonker, Diederik Sleurink, Edwin Weesie (HU), Bart Hoogeboom (Windesheim), Boudewijn Dijkstra (NHL Stenden).
Project duration: 2023-2025
Project partners: The consortium consists of 4 Universities of Applied Sciences (lead VHL, NHL Stenden, Windesheim, Utrecht), 2 colleges (Vonk College, Terra College), software company 8D games, 5 agro coaches/business advisors, 2 farmers, sector organisations (LTO, NAJK) and Rabobank. The Universities of Applied Sciences are leading in the implementation and use other partners to validate and share.
SDGs: 4, 12 and 17