If you really examine the issues that family farms face you might conclude that they are set up to fail. I am not talking about challenges like low commodity prices or high input costs. What I mean by this is that families that farm together really face tough battles that are different than regular corporate issues. I have a friend that works for a large company and it is a policy that you cannot date or be married to another co-worker in the same department. Well on a family farm you may have three brothers, three wives and the parents all working within the same corporate department. On top of this is the challenge of when the parents pass away and the siblings are left to find there own definition of family without the parents. Other factors are dealing with non-operating siblings and how they fit into this very complicated story.
Family farms are the root of agriculture but no matter where you go in North America the same systemic succession / family planning issues exist. At the Crop Production Show, I met with Elaine Froese, a professional author, speaker and certified coach on family planning issues. Elaine is great at getting farm families to follow all the proper steps to ensure a proper plan is executed and the family can be a family. As Elaine told me, “the most important thing is at the end of the day the family can have turkey dinner together.”
By talking to Elaine I can tell that step one is talking and asking questions of one another. That’s it….talking. What is everyone feeling? Who will be taking over the farm and more importantly when? I recommend that you go to http://www.elainefroese.com/ to find out more about Elaine’s process and possibly get in touch with her so that she can help your farm succession.
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