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November 2011 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.

Thanksgiving Inventory

Nov 30, 2011



From Legacy Moment (11/25/2011).
Please join us for future issues,
delivered via email each Friday.

Thanksgiving is a time of year to take inventory, count our blessings and appreciate all that is good in our lives. For some, it’s a time to passively sit back and feel fortunate. For others, it’s an opportunity to actively ensure that we express real appreciation for all that is ours.
Positive results come from good decisions and decisive actions. They don’t just happen. For lasting success, a person must be willing to plan, invest effort, overcome challenges and persevere. Succession planning is designed to put you in control and eliminate uncertainty.
The most common succession planning goals expressed by farm owners include:
1. Keeping the farm in the family.
2. Maintaining operational success.
3. Providing financial security for family members.
4. Minimizing the estate tax liability.
5. Maintaining family harmony.
By themselves, achieving each of these five goals is difficult. Together they call for extraordinary effort. The only way to ensure success is to follow a comprehensive plan for succession. Making the decisions necessary to create a plan and taking the actions needed to implement solutions is the key to a lasting legacy.
Start now; make 2012 the year you take control and plan for tomorrow. Your family, your farm and your future depend on the decisions you make and the actions you take.
News & Resources for You:
Still nibbling on your Thanksgiving leftovers? As you no doubt noticed, most food items do cost more this year.
Only three Legacy Workshops remain during the 2011 season. Our December events are right around the corner – remember to sign up! (Or you may call Farm Journal Events at (877) 482-7203.
The 2012 Workshop schedule has also now been announced. No events coming up near you? Don’t put the process on the back burner – we’re here to address your questions and help you get started.
Do you know about our Legacy Certified Advisors?

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Photo courtesy of USDA.

How Do You Define Success?

Nov 22, 2011

iStock WindmillFrom Legacy Moment (11/18/2011).
Please join us for future issues,
delivered via email each Friday.

Recently, I had the privilege of meeting with Roger and Mary Dye of Pomeroy, Washington. The "AgDay" crew and I were there to film an episode of "Leave a Legacy TV."

Mary had written me to suggest that a "mom-and-pop" operation should be featured in the program. In her letter she wrote about succession planning, family communication and the future. "I realize that messy shops with equipment bound by duct tape and offices strewn with disaster don’t portray the image of success," she wrote.
If not, Mary, what does? Success is not a place; it’s not buildings, and machinery, and money. Success is a journey of discovery. It’s learning about self-reliance and independence. Success is the gradual realization of a dream. It is life on your terms, growing the operation and developing the skills that will translate into a rich life for you, and a legacy for your family.
News & Resources for You:
Prepare for a strong 2012 by joining us for a Legacy Workshop in December. Sign up now for events in Kansas City, Bloomington, and Memphis. (Or call 877-482-7203.)
Read about how one Michigan family is ensuring their legacy for the future.
Did you miss Wednesday's episode of "Leave a Legacy TV"?  If not, you can view it online now. (Watch for the Dye family story in January.)      
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What If?

Nov 15, 2011

iStock WheatFrom Legacy Moment (11/11/2011).
Please join us for future issues,
delivered via email each Friday.

A few months ago, I wrote a ‘Leave a Legacy’ column for Farm Journal entitled "How Safe Is Your Base?" referring specifically to a farmer’s land base. Since most farmers rent more land than they own, the tenant-landlord relationship can be a big concern. Farming operations, equipment purchases, and numerous fixed costs are based on acres farmed. So any factor that jeopardizes stability can be expensive, and any ground lost (due to a sale, competition, etc.) might be irreplaceable.
In the column, I wrote, "Most landlords are committed to farming and are intensely interested in knowing their farm will continue to be productive into the future. There is a lot of mutual benefit in establishing a long-term lease, a buy/sell agreement, an option to purchase and a funding mechanism for the purchase.
"Your landlord wants: 

    • Financial security, a return from the land.
    • Good stewards who will care for the land as their own.
    • Satisfaction from a good working relationship with a tenant farmer.  
You may want:   

    • Financial security, assurance that land is available at a fair price.
    • A well cared for piece of ground that will yield the very best returns.
    • Peace of mind knowing that your base is safe and your operation can grow.  
You and your landlords should act as strategic alliance partners in your farming operation---with each partner committed to the health and welfare of the operation."
In the Legacy Project Workshops, I illustrate a concept we call the Legacy Landlord Program. It is a service we suggest to our succession planning clients. In the program, we facilitate a discussion between tenant and landlord. We promote a long-term lease, an option to buy and suggest a funding mechanism.
Is this win-win solution a good fit for you?
News & Resources for You:
A family focused on taking constructive action will achieve succession planning success.  Our newly updated succession planning tools menu may help.
The Legacy Project 2011 Report is chock-full of information and resources, and the entire issue is available online.


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More Success Secrets of America's Best Agripreneurs

Nov 01, 2011

iStock Green FarmFrom Legacy Moment (10/28/2011).
Please join us for future issues, 
delivered via email each Friday.

Part II of II:

Last week, we learned the first five secrets of entrepreneurial success from American farmers. Today, we reveal five more:

6. Manage your team, grow leadership capabilities and nurture other opportunities. Leadership is an aptitude, not a position. It’s the ability to manage a team, help others become leaders and grow new opportunities. A leadership development plan should include education, experience and mentor/protégé relationships.

7. Develop strategic relationships to support the operation, improve results and grow. Strategic alliance relationships offer advantages beyond those of a general practitioner, such as cost efficiencies and specialization, including skills, abilities, knowledge, capabilities, etc. Strategic alliance relationships offer the luxury of a specialist for the cost of a part-time employee.

8. Manage finances, marketing and business matters for continual improvement. Failure is the tuition we pay for wisdom. A good business manager is constantly working to improve the results of the operation. Efficiencies allow us to do more with less. Each business operation must be in a constant state of renewal and refinement.

9. Harvest crops, market appropriately and reinvest in the operation. The decisions you make and the actions you take will determine your success. Growing a business is an avocation that requires a sincere interest in business systems, economics, accounting, people, management, marketing, customer service, innovation, etc.

10. Account for results, compare expectations and refine plans for next season. Lasting security is not something you get; it’s something you give. Entrepreneurs embrace life-affirming experiences. They use risk, challenge and fear of the unfamiliar to generate rewards, satisfaction, confidence and capabilities.

News & Resources for You:

Are you and your landlords working together for the welfare of the operation? Learn how to strengthen those relationships.

As you refine plans for next season, have you defined your succession intentions? The Legacy Project can help you get started.

The annual Legacy Project Report issue of Farm Journal is a helpful resource, and all content is available on our website. 

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