Leave a Legacy
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.
Growing It Forward
Apr 01, 2014
From Legacy Moment (03.21.2014).
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As an ag exchange student, Menno was attracted by the wide-open spaces and plentiful opportunities. Now, 30+ years later, he faces a new set of challenges. He and his wife, Jeanne Ann, have four children who have expressed an interest in following in their parents' footsteps. Though an enviable problem, it speaks to the need for good communication and a plan for succession.
Both Menno and Jeanne Ann descended from farm families, so engaging in the process has been a natural extension of melding together family and business. Their collective experience (Menno as a farming professional who weathered the 1980s as a beginner, floods and droughts throughout his career, and Jeanne Ann as a teacher) have allowed them to start the process with constructive family meetings.
When the conversation comes around to succession, experience tells us most farmers:
• Know what they want to achieve
• Are prepared to have constructive conversations
• Have tried some form of planning
Yet for some reason, progress stalls. Maybe it's an unanticipated problem, time constraints, seasonal workloads or just a lack of commitment. Don't give up.
If you missed the latest episode of "Leave a Legacy" TV, you can view it online now, to learn more about the Attemas and their efforts to keep the family in farming and 'Grow it Forward!'
News & Resources for You:
Catch up on archived episodes of "Leave a Legacy" TV for more farm family profiles.
When it's time to talk about succession, sharing these questions in advance can help family members consider their succession goals and communicate them.
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Photo courtesy of the Attema family.