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Leave a Legacy

RSS By: Kevin Spafford, Legacy Project

Kevin Spafford is Farm Journal’s succession planning expert for the Farm Journal Legacy Project.  He hosts the nationally-televised ‘Leave a Legacy’ TV, facilitates an ongoing series of workshops for farm families across the U.S., and is the author of Legacy by Design: Succession Planning for Agribusiness Owners.

Experience Matters

Oct 09, 2012

Grasses   Iowa   USDA NRCS From Legacy Moment (10/05/2012).

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According to Webster's dictionary, experience is "active participation in events or activities, leading to the accumulation of knowledge or skill." When coaching leadership development, we stress a multi-faceted approach, which might include on-the-job training, classroom study, leadership exercises and mentor-protégé relationships.
 
Experience in production agriculture is far more than an ability to tackle farm chores, drive a tractor or milk cows. It's about making decisions, financial analysis, risk management, people skills and business planning. On the farm today, brains supplant brawn, weather is not the only risk and timing is everything.
 
In the April 2007 issue of Amber Waves, a USDA publication, an article entitled "Experience Counts: Farm Business Survival in the U.S." reminds us of the importance of experience. The article states:
 
  • "Farming, like other businesses, exhibits high turnover, with many thousands of existing farms going out of business each year.
 
  • "As in other industries, new farm businesses enter at a high rate and new entrants subsequently exit at high rates, irrespective of the size of the farm or the age of the operator.
 
  •  "Exit rates fall as businesses age to 5 to 9 years old, and then fall again, although modestly, for more experienced farm businesses."
 
As the article also points out, "Experience seems to provide an important advantage to well-established businesses that can learn quickly and efficiently."
 
Got experience?
 

News & Resources for You:

Leadership may be the single biggest gap in any succession plan. Use our Leadership Skills Inventory to identify areas for professional growth. 
 
The owner and successor must work together now to cultivate for the future. For more on leadership, read Danny Klinefelter's "10 Lessons".
 
Ensure that your experience will count by turning goals into actions

 

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Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.
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