Not one family taking part in an interactive survey at the Columbia, Mo., workshop had a written succession plan in place. The conference was their start.
Our Legacy Project Workshops provide steps to help you get started.
The Pekarek family traveled 300 miles from Burlington, Colo., to Wichita, Kan., for one of our Farm Journal Legacy Project Workshops late last summer. John, who farms part-time with his parents, was the first attendee to check in, arriving before registration opened. Five of his siblings and his parents, Ruth and Norbert, arrived soon after. To say that the Pekareks care deeply about their farm and are motivated to create a succession plan is an understatement. Attending the workshop, though, is the first tangible step the family has taken.
Ready, set, go. "We don’t know what all we need to do, but we’re ready to get going," Norbert says. "We want to do right by our farm and eight kids."
Norbert rattles off the names of his children like a roll call: Steve, Nancy, Linda, Alice, Diane, Angela, John and Laura. Steve, the only one who farms full-time with his father, stayed home to see a child off to a first day of school. Only he and Laura, who lives in Florida, weren’t there to take the first steps.
Armed with copies of the workbook provided by the workshop, the family went home the next day to do their homework and start building a framework for their succession plan.
The Pekareks were not alone at the Wichita workshop: 87% of the families who attended did not have a written succession plan. At other workshop locations this past summer, up to 100% of the families did not have a plan in place.
"Taking the first step and simply getting started can be difficult," says Kevin Spafford, Farm Journal succession planning expert. "Our initial workshops are designed to help farm families launch their effort—both during the conference and with the workbook when they return home."
Spafford will take the workshop on the road again in August. He is also busy planning conferences for 2012 that will help families move to the next steps of the succession planning process.
2011 Legacy Project Workshops
Rockford, Ill., Best Western Clock Tower Resort
Bowling Green, Ohio, Holiday Inn French Quarter
Kansas City, Mo., Hilton Kansas City Airport hotel
- Legacy Project 2011 Report