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.
Survival of the Fittest
Jun 18, 2014
From Legacy Moment (06.13.2014).
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In nature, survival always favors the fittest. The definition of 'fit' (fastest, biggest, strongest or smartest), however may change according to circumstance. Whether at the individual level or as large agricultural conglomerate, certain needs must be met.
To survive in the wilderness, a person needs shelter, food and water. To survive in the business world, an agribusiness requires capital, leadership and sound planning. Capital keeps the wheels of the business greased and functioning. Leadership provides direction and business culture. Sound planning anticipates and addresses the opportunities and obligations of the endeavor.
Farmers suffer risk; it's part of their occupational DNA. On a daily basis, they make critical decisions with long-term consequences. However, as good as they are at balancing the risk/reward payoff, like most of us, they're also masters of procrastination.
Nothing is more important than how to keep the farm in the family, yet planning for the future is one of the most avoided tasks. Denial comforts us from the realities of aging. Ironically, the same self-reliant attributes that make a farmer strong also make him a weak long-term planner -- especially when it comes to determining the future of the operation. It is difficult to turn over the reins when you're so accustomed to driving.
What steps have you taken to preserve, promote and pass your family farm to well-prepared next generations?
News & Resources for You:
A good first step is to sign up for an upcoming Legacy Project Workshop. Register now for events in:
• Omaha, Neb. on July 14
• Moline, Ill. on July 16
• Austin, Minn. on July 18
Planning for succession is an ongoing process.
When is the right time to start succession planning? Now.