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November 2012 Archive for 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.

If at First You Don't Succeed...

Nov 27, 2012

 iStock MaintenanceFrom Legacy Moment (11/23/2012).

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At times, the senior generation can be hard to get through to. They can be stubbornand remain that way just to prove a point. All too often, they just don't seem to listen. So, as a young aspiring farmer, what do you do to get the senior generation's attention and make sure they understand your growing interest in farming? How do you respectfully let them know you want to discuss succession while maintaining the deference necessary to continue the conversation?
 
It all starts with the right attitude. Know that wanting to follow in another person's footsteps, especially for parents and grandparents, is the biggest compliment you might bestow. It is downright flattering to hear another person say, "Someday, I wanna be just like you." That statement is even more powerful when the other person knows you're not talking about money or wealth, landholdings or market values, but rather work ethic and abilities, talents and family values.
 
Be well prepared before you ask your parents or grandparents about becoming a farmer and working in the family operation. Farming is a profession. It is a serious business and it requires the right approach. With resumé in hand and a few written ideas to grow the operation, visit with the senior generation about your desires. Open the conversation with a series of questions to help them engage in a meaningful discussion about succession planning.
 
Opening questions might include:
 
1. Is maintaining family ownership of the farm important to you, and have you thought about how we can achieve that goal?
 
2. What conditions are necessary for us to grow the operation to support additional active family members? What conditions might eliminate the possibility?
 
3. If you were to help me devise a professional development plan to become a viable member of the farm's management team, what education, experiences, mentors and skills would you recommend I use?
 
4. In creating a plan for growing the operation and continuing family ownership, who should be a part of the process and why?
 
5. Which personal/vocational work characteristic do you observe in me that I should overcome to better serve the needs of the farm?
 
6. When can we visit about this again, and what can we do to prepare for that conversation?
 
7. What has to happen for you to agree to implement a succession plan for our family operation?
 

News & Resources for You:

A communication guide will help all parties stay focused on the goals for transition.
 
In one of our favorite columns from the archives, a 12-year-old asks how he may prepare to take the reins someday.
 
Consider a Legacy Project Workshop as a good starting point. Events are coming up in Amarillo, Salina and Denver.
 
If you'll be at this week's Executive Women in Ag Conference (Chicago), make a note: the Legacy Project's Josh Sylvester presents succession planning information at 8:15, 9:20, and 10:55 on Friday morning.  Safe travels, and see you there... 
 
 
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Wishing You a Grateful Thanksgiving

Nov 20, 2012

 

Cornucopia Thanksgiving AI   compressedFrom Legacy Moment (11/16/2012).
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It's Thanksgivingthe time of year most Americans reflect on our nation's founding and appreciate those who came before us. That's really what succession is all about: celebrating our past, enjoying the present and planning for the future. Those who came before us faced the unknown and braved the unsettled to create a better life. It is our charge to learn from their experience and stand in their shadow to build a better future.

Today, we face unending challenge, rising costs, onerous regulation, a growing tax burden and increasing environmental concerns. But with each challenge comes greater opportunity. Like the pioneers of old, we face an unknown future. By employing educational advancements, research, technology and a growing sphere of experience, we can succeed. Using the virtues of hard work, self-reliance and independence, we can move beyond the possible and discover new horizons.
 
Using the past as our foundation and the present as a road map, we can create a path to the futurea much more prosperous future. Decide now. What do you want to pass on to the next generation? How do you want them to remember you? Will your story become part of family lore; are you one of the ancestors they'll point to as an exemplar of the good in our agricultural community?
 
You all belong to a special breed, apart from the rest. As American farmers, your collective efforts ensure that our legacy will carry on, not just in the history books but in daily life across the land for seasons to come...
 
I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, with the joy of family.
 
News & Resources for You:
 
It won't cost you much more this year to put Thanksgiving dinner on the table.
 
As you enjoy your feast, don't forget to make plans for you and your family to attend a Legacy Project Workshop in December.
 
These nine tips will help you prepare for your succession journey. 
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Smart Goals

Nov 12, 2012

 From Legacy Moment (11/09/2012).iStock Wheat
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While brushing up for a workshop recently, I came across the keys to setting goals. Learning to set and then implement S-M-A-R-T goals is a life skill that will pay off in any endeavor.

 
The S-M-A-R-T goals are:
 
Specific- A goal should be written with as many specific details as possible. State exactly what you want to accomplish.
 
Measurable- Each goal should be written so that you can compare progress and quantify degrees of achievement.
 
Actionable- Nothing happens until you take action. Wishes, wants and intentions will not help you achieve; only by acting can you generate a result.
 
Relevant- In planning for succession, we judge goals based on priority and then act on the goals that will make the most impact.
 
Time-bound- Without a deadline, nothing will ever be accomplished. Vince Lombardi used to say, "We never lose, but sometimes the clock runs out on us."
 

News & Resources for You:

Don't let the clock run out on registering for the Legacy Project Workshops in December.
 
Gauge your progress by checking off each action step as you move through the succession planning process.
 
Use comprehensive succession planning as a Springboard to the Future.

 

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American Farmer

Nov 06, 2012

 iStock OperationFrom Legacy Moment (11/02/2012).
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Improvements don't just happen. Only a person inspired by a dissatisfactory situation can change the human condition and make something better than it was before. That person must be motivated by real or deep-rooted reward. Since reward is always a function of risk, he or she must speculate that the potential reward will outweigh the risk.
 
Our most precious resource is not land, water or climate. America's most precious resource is its farmers and your ability to provide food to a hungry world. It's your tendency toward self-reliance and independence; your work ethic, perseverance and tenacity that make us who we are. The U.S. was founded on certain values that we hold dear. American farmers live those principles on the farm and in the community. It's that spirit which makes America great.
 
American farmers are the last of a breed. You use your innate abilities and combine your character traits of hard work, self-reliance and independence to feed the world.
 

News & Resources for You:

Safeguard your farming way of life through comprehensive planning for the future of your operation. A good starting place is to identify your objectives. 

It's never too early to begin thinking about a future in agriculture.
 
Your neighbors in Amarillo, Salina, and Denver are making plans to participate in next month's Legacy Project Workshops. Will we see you as well, at the final workshops of the year?

 

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