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April 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.

A Few Reminders for Dad, from the Next Generation

Apr 26, 2012


Kerr, Wes   on Leave a LegacyFrom Legacy Moment (04/20/2012).
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If you were standing here with a group of your dad’s peers, what suggestions would you give to help them to prepare the next generation for a leadership role?
On the latest episode of "Leave a Legacy TV," I had the opportunity to interview Wes Kerr, a very capable, well-spoken next generation leader in the dairy industry. His answer may surprise you, yet his insight is invaluable.
When asked, Wes started right in, "I think a huge part of being able to prepare the next generation is to actually let us be a part of it [the operation]."
He went on, "People need to realize that you have to get the younger generation involved early and actually let them have a real part of the operation – not just a nominal thing – ‘Oh yeah, go take care of the cows, kid.’ Actually let them learn how to manage the herd, let them know how to take care of the cows, how to pull calves, how to treat a cow that may be sick. All of those are just hands-on things.
"If you have someone who’s there to give you advice, that’s very important," Wes continued to explain. "But, at some point, they [dads] need to be able to take a step back and let that young person learn. And make a couple of mistakes, but learn from those mistakes. …as long as they have a real opportunity to make real decisions that they can see the effects of, that’s going to be the key for the next generation to want to be a part of the operation and also have that experience to give them a future."
Wes might summarize the points of our discussion by saying:
  1. Give the next generation real responsibilities and hold them accountable for results.
  2. Make them a part of the decision-making process.
  3. Allow them to fail, not to the detriment of the operation, but as a learning opportunity.
  4. Incrementally grant and relinquish control.
  5. Listen to their comments and clearly explain your reasoning.

News & Resources for You:
The Kerrs are the kind of folks you’d like to have as neighbors. Learn more about their successful succession story on "Leave a Legacy TV."
On your farm, how ready is the next generation to lead?
Registration is now open for the Legacy Workshops in Fargo (July 10th) and Omaha (July 12th). Are you ready to take the first steps? 
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Succession Planning and Sir Isaac Newton

Apr 20, 2012

Apples   USDA NRSFrom Legacy Moment (04/13/2012).  Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday. 

The laws of man are artificial creations. Spiritual laws are based on unquantifiable faith. Yet the laws of nature are absolute and undeviating.
Three hundred years ago, Sir Isaac Newton defined the laws of gravity and planetary motion. He also detailed three unconditional laws of nature that apply to every facet of life -- including succession planning.
Newton’s First Law of Motion ("An object at rest tends to remain at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion") and Second Law of Motion ("The acceleration of an object is dependent on the net force acting on the object and the mass of the object") can apply equally well to succession planning. I’ll let you think about how.
But Newton’s Third Law -- "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction" -- is of even greater importance.
As a succession planning professional, a large part of my job is to encourage action. After years of effort, I’ve come to realize that inaction is often based in deep-seated fear about engaging in the succession planning process.
But if Newton is right when he says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, then isn’t the "act" of fear countered by an opportunity? For every low there’s a high, and for every effort there’s a reward. You may find that your fears become catalysts:
• A loss of control may be translated to the motivation necessary for leadership development.
• Change may be the incentive for improvement.
• Commitment often leads to action.
Farmers live by the laws of nature. Use Newton’s Third Law to realize the benefits innate in the hesitation of planning for succession.
News & Resources for You:
Decide to begin. Our Succession Planning Action Plan may help you identify first steps.
Create a succession road map designed to achieve results that will last for generations to come.
Registration is now open for the Legacy Project Workshops in Fargo (July 10th) and Omaha (July 12th).


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Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS

Philosophy from a Cotton Cowboy

Apr 10, 2012


Kevin Rogers croppedFrom Legacy Moment (04/06/2012).
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delivered via email each Friday.

You might refer to Kevin Rogers as a cotton cowboy, not because he is soft and malleable, but rather due to his crop of choice and trademark hat. In a recent interview for "Leave a Legacy TV," I asked Kevin to define success. As often happens, the answer I got tells us more about the man and shines a light on his priorities. "So, let’s get a little bit personal." I asked. "How do you define success?"
Without hesitation, Kevin responded, "I look at my level of happiness with my family and my farm, and my relationships. It’s not necessarily a dollar and cents issue..."
In most succession planning engagements, there’s discussion around family first versus business first. For Kevin Rogers, the tip of the scale is clear. He says that money/business success has to be there, "because, if you don’t have financial stability to go along with everything else you’re doing, then everything else falls apart."
"I look at my success as whether or not I enjoy what I’m doing," he goes on. "Whether or not we’ve got a good family at home, whether the kids are having fun, whether my wife and I have got a great relationship. That’s success for me."
And if you didn’t hear it clearly, Kevin says, "It really does come down to family, ‘cause that’s first."
News & Resources for You:
The Rogers family shares a storied history which dates back to the Old West. If you missed the "Leave a Legacy TV" episode which featured their story, you can view it online now.
What’s involved in a succession plan and what are the benefits? Browse our Legacy Project FAQ’s.
Follow us on Twitter to make sure you catch all the latest updates! 


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Three Life Rules from a Florida Legend

Apr 02, 2012


Robert MoehlingFrom Legacy Moment (03/30/2012).
Please join us for future issues,
delivered via email each Friday.

Hosting "Leave a Legacy TV" allows me a unique opportunity to visit with some very admirable agripreneurs. One such leader, Robert Moehling, of the much-loved Robert Is Here Fruit Stand and Farm in Homestead, Fla., enlightened us on his three rules for success. When I asked him about the "secret to life; the secret to success," Robert quickly piped in…
"That’s the easiest question to answer on earth."
He went on, "And they’ve forgotten to teach it in these palaces of education for business and life. It’s three rules, four words: honesty, integrity, and hard work. Simple, simple."
He paused for a moment, and then went on, "I’ve preached that ever since, even before, I got married. That’s my mantra."
"You can have your wallet stolen," explains Robert. "You can have your produce stolen off your farm. Someone could steal your tractor. But let 'em try to steal your honesty, integrity and hard work. You can give them away. But they cannot steal them from you. No matter how broke you are and no matter what happens… They can never steal 'em from you."

A very animated Robert Moehling avows that as long as you hold on to these three things – honesty, integrity and hard work - "you’ve got everything."
News & Resources for You:
If you missed the "Leave a Legacy TV" episode profiling Robert Moehling and family, or any earlier shows, they’re all archived for viewing online. Spend a little time with some of America’s great farm families!
Digging into the Legacy Project mailbag, I offer a few answers to common questions. Let us help you to overcome succession "hiccups."

What’s the latest news from the Moeses, our case study family in South Dakota? Jim Dickrell (Dairy Today) shares an update. 

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Photo courtesy of Robert is Here Fruit Stand and Farm - Homestead, Florida
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