From Legacy Moment (01/06/2012).
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Staring down the barrel of a new year can be intimidating. For farmers, the winter months may be a time of anticipation, when folks attend workshops and trade shows to improve the operation and learn about the latest advancements. Before the non-urgency lulls you into a ‘looks like, feels like last year’ type of comfort, take a few moments to consider using this time to initiate your succession plan.
Among the many emails we have received, we’ve had some say it’s too late, others say it’s time and still others say they're glad they forged ahead. Succession isn’t about off-the-shelf solutions. It is about planning the outcome you want, working to achieve your ultimate goals and establishing a lasting family legacy.
Before it’s too late, take a lesson from these folks:
"We have lost the most important thing there is—the love of family! And it was all 100% preventable! Please continue all of your hard work—we would never wish for another family farm to face the destruction and heartache that we went through."
"If you would have told us we would be where we are at today, we would have laughed. All of us think we have it all together, but it can creep up so fast you don’t know what hit you!!!"
"If we could say one thing to other family farms, it’s communicate and have a succession plan in place! Please. It’s really ‘cheap insurance’ for the multiple families’ years of hard work and legacy!"
Because once it’s gone, you’re not getting it back. And we all want it to stay in the family.
"It would be a shame if we let all the hard work of our previous generations slip away due to our failed planning."
"We all want the farm to stay in the family and yet be as fair as possible for the three siblings. As you most likely know, this is an emotional and difficult project, but we would like to have a good idea and thought process in mind."
"We three siblings have been working at a solution which would be beneficial to all of us and continue the farming operation as our parents would have wanted. Of course, as with any family farm situations, there are many personalities and emotions to consider and deal with effectively."
So, if you don’t know where to start:
"It’s like this (Legacy Project) was sent from heaven. The information is concise, we understand it, and it has made us realize that we need to get started."
"I cannot tell you how much we appreciate what you are doing for American farm families. Your work recognizes something that most don't see, the dynamics of families, and how fragile the farming system becomes when we stress those relationships."
The Farm Journal Legacy Project is dedicated to cultivating multigenerational success in the ag community.
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Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS