Leave a Legacy
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.
Whose Responsibility Is It?
Oct 12, 2011
From Legacy Moment eNewsletter (10/07/2011).
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Who should initiate the succession planning conversation, and how? In every Legacy Project Workshop, we devote time to discussing that question. We hear opinions from many stakeholders in each operation and the conversation runs the gamut. That discussion often leads to two core questions: how and when.
Russell Redding, Dean of the School of Agriculture at Delaware Valley College and guest author of the 2011 Legacy Project Report, recently offered a great piece of advice during an interview for “Leave a Legacy TV." As one of multiple children, Redding knew working on the family dairy might not be an option.
He suggests that children think and act in terms of solutions rather than problems, because parents and grandparents have enough to deal with. “I’ll use my own experience. As one of 11 family members, there had to be some agreement among [siblings] before we could get our parents to take a step,” he says. “They’re [parents] looking for a solution, not a problem.” He further explains that most people present their individual wants, needs and problems, instead of offering solutions. For instance, when it comes to fair versus equal, Redding says, “Don't expect Mom and Dad to choose among the children -- is not something they want to do.” He suggests that there be some agreement by those who want to be involved in the operation as to what is fair and equitable, before approaching the parents and grandparents.
“We knew full well there were some who wanted an active role, some wanted occasional contact with the farm, and others wanted to do something else,” he says about his family. A family shouldn’t let the planning process be intimidating; beginning is the important part.
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Many families struggle with fair versus equal. This tool will help you explore potential solutions.