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September 2013 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.

Lots of Money Doesn't Make It Easier

Sep 24, 2013

iStock Wheat SunsetFrom Legacy Moment (09.20.2013).
Please join us for future issues,
delivered via email each Friday.

"...I hope for their sake that they'll be able to get along," says Donald Trump in "Trump Trio Eyes Succession" in the Wall Street Journal. If you think succession would be easier if you had a bit more money, a bigger farm or any number of excuses for not taking action, you're mistaken. With five kids and a net worth approaching $3 billion, Mr. Trump has plenty to go around, but like other family business owners, he recognizes that, "Succession is usually a disaster..."

The story explains three of his children are grown and actively involved in the business. Two others are still too young. Today, each of the three active children have separate interests and complementary capabilities, which should translate well to create a strong leadership team. Mr. Trump's plan includes equal decision-making power, and the kids seem to agree. Regarding future business transactions, such as an acquisition, Trump's 31-year-old daughter Ivanka says, "If...one of my siblings felt very strongly about not doing it, that would mean something very important to me."

Succession is about money, business and career. Yet, at the root, it's about legacy. It's about building something bigger than self. It's about raising children to be leaders—business owners, parents, siblings, team members, employees and part of a family. Succession is a natural next step for a going concern. It is a process of preserving, promoting and passing a viable operation to a well-prepared next generation. However, it won't happen until you make a commitment and acknowledge that more money or a bigger farm won't make it any easier.

News & Resources for You:


Trump Trio Eyes Succession (Robbie Whelan for Wall Street Journal, Sept. 15, 2013).

How are American farm families handling their succession decisions? Take a peek via archived episodes of 'Leave a Legacy TV.'

Interested in peer advisory groups to provide multiple vantage points and constructive feedback? Exclusive to eLegacyConnect, Dr. Danny Klinefelter presents a webinar on Sept. 26. Pre-registration required; no cost, but space is limited. 

Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.

Legacy 20Pioneer 20DuPont 20Attribution 202012




The Ultimate Harvest

Sep 17, 2013

iStock WheatFrom Legacy Moment (09.13.2013).
Please join us for future issues,
delivered via email each Friday.

Like everything else in farming, multigenerational success is the result of planting the right seeds, nurturing an appreciation for farming and then guiding the next generation through a defined transition process. Your plan must contain provisions for the ownership transfer, leadership development, financial security and estate taxes. Beyond that, everything else is a measure of leadership. It all depends on the capabilities of people involved in the process.  

Consider the operation:

  • Is it recognized as a well-led, profitably managed and efficiently maintained enterprise?
  • Do others in the industry emulate the practices employed in the operation?
  • Do others imitate the methods used and adopt them as best practices?


For family members and loyal employees:

  • Do employees, suppliers and third-party vendors speak admiringly of your operation and seek your opinions?
  • Are your children and/or loyal employees considered leaders in their respective fields?
  • Do they command the respect and admiration of industry peers?
  • Are they ready, willing and able to assume more prominent roles in the operation?
  • And, most importantly, do you abide their leadership skills and respect their abilities?

As the owner:

  • Do you demonstrate a 'leadership by example' that others respect, admire and willingly follow?
  • Are you gradually yielding control while maintaining the communication necessary to guide decisions and mentor others?


Leadership is a multifaceted pursuit of better. It's a quest for constant improvement. With the right leadership, anything is possible. Without it, nothing is.

News & Resources for You:

How may we help you and your family achieve your 'ultimate harvest?'

Registration is now open for December's Legacy Project Workshops. (Find out about the new 201 workshops!)

Have you accessed your free trial of eLegacyConnect? Find Succession Solutions for your farm family.

Legacy 20Pioneer 20DuPont 20Attribution 202012




The Influence You Have

Sep 10, 2013

alt=Gold field and tractor, mid-harvest, progress in the field   From Legacy Moment (09.06.2013).
Please join us for future issues,
delivered via email each Friday.

Bravo to Glen Cope. No sooner did we send out last week's Legacy Moment than we came across his "Influence of Farmers Continues to Grow" on the American Farm Bureau Federation's website. Beyond a voice in the ongoing food discussions, American farmers are continuing to gain esteem as leaders. From involvement in local communities to the CEOs of large farming conglomerates, American farmers are the quintessential entrepreneurs. They know how to get it done.

So, as we teeter on the brink of economic collapse and suffer the instability of prolonged unemployment, people will do well to learn from the American farmer. Farmers know how to ensure the family's financial security. Farmers have successfully weathered the storms of ambiguity and indifference. Farmers are an example of lasting achievement and stability.

"American farmers will continue to be among the best influencers in our society," Glen writes. So, in the search for families who have beaten the odds and stand as a testament to success, the legacy of the American farmer might be that example. As the quintessential family business owner, the American farmer is self-reliant, resilient and independent. 

News & Resources for You: 

Influence of Farmers Continues to Grow. (AFBF Focus on Agriculture; Sept. 4, 2013)

What does the Legacy of the American farmer mean to you?

eLegacyConnect: A community of American farmers poised to secure their farms for future generations.

Legacy Pioneer DuPont Attribution 2012




The Legacy of the American Farmer

Sep 05, 2013

Rogers FamilyFrom Legacy Moment (08.30.2013).
Please join us for future issues,
delivered via email each Friday.

The entrepreneurial gene is part of the American psyche. We hail from a people who risked it all in the hope of achieving more and creating a better life. From across the sea, the American Farmer populated the Plains, crossed the great divide and settled the West. The American Farmer provided food and fabric to a growing nation. The American Farmer created frontier communities and established a system of commerce. It wasn't luck, or fate or even circumstance; it was a dogged determination by the American Farmer to succeed and create something better. Today, we might not be far removed from those early years. As resourceful people look for answers, they'll be reading instruction manuals, viewing how-to websites, and looking for do-it-yourself guides for starting a business. There is no better place to look than the legacy of the American Farmer.

Your help will be greatly appreciated. As you read these words your mind might have wandered to examples of great American Farmers. You might have thought about the character traits that define the farm community. You might have flashed to your own family and imagined scenes from days gone by. Whatever the above statement means to you, please send me your thoughts at Ask Kevin.

What is the 'Legacy of the American Farmer'?  

News & Resources for You:

 Our FAQs can point you in the right direction for ensuring the legacy of your own American farm.

The American Farmer could be one of the many women in agriculture who lead by example.

Seeking succession solutions? Subscribe to the blog at eLegacyConnect. (It's free!)
Legacy Pioneer DuPont Attribution 2012



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