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February 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.

It Should Be Obvious, But It Isn't

Feb 22, 2011

iStock A Barn with a View CompressedFrom Legacy Moment eNewsletter (02/18/2011)
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Recently, I was reviewing “Agriculture’s Strategic Role in Feeding and Fueling a Growing World,” a 2008 report from the Farm Foundation. It states, “Public understanding of agriculture has changed significantly over the last half century. The segment of the population engaged in agriculture has dwindled so that farm households now represent only a small share of all households in the United States. At the same time, many consumers are increasingly concerned about how their food is produced. Some of these concerns are related to food safety, while others reflect such ethical concerns as labor standards and animal treatment.”
No wonder we have problems with public perception. There is only a small fraction of the population engaged in agriculture. What if the public knew what we know? Specifically:
• 98% of the farms in America are family-owned and operated.
• 82% of all food production comes from family farms.
• 16.5 million people work in the industry.
The report goes on to say, “Agricultural producers sometimes struggle to understand public attitudes about these concerns.” Can’t we, as an industry, demonstrate that family farmers:
• efficiently produce a safe, reliable, clean food supply?
• are good stewards of our natural resources?
• remain committed to the values, work ethic and lifestyle that made this country great?
News & Resources for You
2011 Legacy Project Workshops have begun! They are scheduled for Ames, Iowa on Feb. 22; Grand Island, Neb. on Feb. 25; Madison, Wis. on March 14; Austin, Minn. on March 16 and Sioux Falls on March 17.
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Maximizing the Opportunities

Feb 15, 2011

iStock Green AerialFrom Legacy Moment eNewsletter (02/11/2011)
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Farmers in America and around the world will increasingly be challenged by six trends that will affect farm production and our ability to satisfy a growing demand. "Agriculture’s Strategic Role in Feeding and Fueling a Growing World" (from Farm Foundation) outlines the challenges that we must address at a global level:
1. Financial markets and recessions
2. Food security
3. Energy security
4. Climate change
5. Competition for natural resources
6. Economic development
Though we can’t overcome every issue on our own, we can be ready to meet these challenges with a well-prepared next generation, a smooth leadership transition and adequate capital to operate effectively through the decades ahead.
Similarly, a well-planned succession, including ownership transition and leadership development, will help our family farmers to deal with the challenges and maximize the opportunities of a changing marketplace.
News & Resources for You
What are the 5 keys to planning success?

How do inactive siblings
fit in the succession picture?

Help us help you… please have someone from each generation of your family take a few moments to participate in the Legacy Project Survey.
Register for Legacy Project Workshops – in Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota. 
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Connecting to Solutions

Feb 09, 2011

iStock Cool Sky   compressedFrom Legacy Moment eNewsletter (02/04/2011)
Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday


“Mass exit of farmers from agriculture in the near future and the likelihood of finding younger farmers to replace them” is a huge concern on our farms, in our communities, across this country and around the world. Though it sounds like the title of a bad movie, the USDA is sounding the warning; succession is a big challenge, and inaction is inexcusable.
The watershed issue in agriculture is a great wave of generational transitions caused by an aging demographic. Consider that “about 28 percent of farm operators are at least 65 years old. In contrast, only 8 percent of self-employed workers in non-agricultural industries are that old.” So says the USDA in “Structure and Finances of U.S. Farms, Family Farm Report,” 2010 Edition.
Farm Journal Media and Pioneer Hi-Bred are using their muscle to bring you solutions. The Legacy Project offers a direct connection to solutions for farm families. But we can’t do it alone. We need you; one farm at a time, we can make a difference and save our family farms.
News & Resources for You:
Have you spelled out the criteria for hiring family members? Download Establishing a Family Employment Policy.
Register for Legacy Project Workshops– in Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota.
Help us help you… please have someone from each generation of your family take a few moments to participate in the Legacy Project Survey

 

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Weathering the Onslaught

Feb 01, 2011

iStock Wheat SunsetFrom Legacy Moment eNewsletter (01/28/2011)
Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday.


Farming is the quintessential family business. Family farms are the backbone of America’s sovereignty. We lead the world in food production. In the 2010 edition of “America’s Diverse Family Farms,” the USDA tells us that "Ninety-eight percent of farms [in the U.S.] are family farms, and they account for 82 percent of [all] farm production."
Yet, beyond the normal challenges and overwhelming odds, family farms are being assailed by misguided special interests, unrealistic social demands and burdensome legislative pressures. As a farming community, we must band together and commit to make the decisions and take the actions necessary to save our family farms.

Though succession planning is not a cure-all, it does help the family focus on common goals and weather the onslaught. The future demands strong leaders, capital resources, a smooth generational transition and financial security for each active family member. Implementing a comprehensive succession plan is a giant step toward success.
News & Resources for You:
“For farmers, a legacy is more than keeping the business going,” said a farmer attending one of the December succession planning workshops
Need encouragement to get started? Browse the Legacy Project 2010 Report.
Register for Legacy Project Workshops – in Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota.
Help us help you… please have someone from each generation of your family take a few moments to participate in the Legacy Project Survey.
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