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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.

She's the New Boss?

Nov 11, 2013

iStock Woman by truckFrom Legacy Moment (11.01.2013).
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"Why don't we hear more about daughters taking over the farm?" asked a concerned mother. "How do we make sure they get a chance?" Although she didn't say it, she did imply that girls are at a disadvantage, and when given a fair chance, might actually outperform their male counterparts.

It's a stereotype I've railed against all of my adult life—especially in the past eight years as I travel the country encouraging farm families to engage in the succession planning process. Sometimes, the very best candidate is your daughter. Farming today is far more about brains than it is about brawn. To support my statements, in writing this issue of Legacy Moment, I came across "Daughters Taking Charge of More Farms" in the Capital Press.

Without me repeating excerpts from the piece, I recommend you take a few minutes to read it for yourself. It's well done and provides lessons for all of us as we look for leaders in the next generation.

Keep in mind:

  • In all cases cited in the article, these emerging leaders started young—usually in their early teens with real jobs and responsibilities.
  • It's not yet a readily accepted norm to have a woman in charge on the farm, so there are some undue pressures to overcome and perform at high levels.
  • Succession—the need to identify and then prepare the next generation—will have a profound and lasting influence on the face of agriculture in the future.

I've said it many times: Planning for succession is a natural next step for a growing operation. What have you done to plan for the next generation of farmers in your family? Have you thoroughly considered all of the potential leadership candidates in your family? Have you overlooked someone based on a deep-seated stereotype?

News & Resources for You: 

Women in farming, such as Mary Rickert, lead by example.

With true passion for her work, Mary Dye is a credit to the farm community.

Need step-by-step guidance? Visit

Help to ensure the legacy of your family farm. Join us at a Legacy Project Workshop in Lincoln, Neb.; Peoria, Ill.; or Indianapolis, Ind.

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