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June 2012 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's a Universal Concern

Jun 26, 2012

Sheep   Idaho   USDA ARSFrom Legacy Moment (06/22/2012).
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delivered via email each Friday.

Though it doesn’t answer the question, this article, "Who Will Take Over the Family Farm?," from New Zealand’s National Business Review tells you that you’re not alone.

• 71% of farmers in New Zealand want to transition.
• Only 47% of those who want to transition have family working in the operation.
• Concerns for the future of agriculture range from commodity prices to regulations and include high land prices.

The article explains that some farmers down under are exploring different models for transition. How do they plan for a gradual transition that ensures financial security, protects the integrity of the operation and puts a well-prepared next generation in charge?

How will you resolve your own succession puzzle?

News & Resources for You:

Do your succession goals align with those of your family?

The next Legacy Project Workshops are filling up quickly! Have you registered yet for the events in Fargo on July 10 and Omaha on July 12?

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Photo Courtesy of USDA NRCS


From One Generation to the Next

Jun 20, 2012

Kerr   Bill with Wes as a childFrom Legacy Moment

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Wes Kerr is a well-spoken young man. As a dad, son and farmer, he’s qualified to offer some perspective as we head into this Father’s Day weekend. I had the privilege of getting to know Wes and the Kerr family this spring. As featured guests on "Leave a Legacy TV," the Kerrs were warm and welcoming.
Like many farm families, they live a heritage that has been passed from one generation to the next. And, not unlike every other farm family, their road has not been a straight line. Through trial and error, the family and Kerr Dairy have grown to become a shining example of what most aspire to achieve.
In the interview with Wes, he said, "We need to be innovative and look at new ways to do things all the time. Not forgetting the old ways – the things that my grandfather was doing to make him a successful farmer." Wes explained, "It’s a combination of both, and they’re both equally important."
Looking back on the accomplishments of the family dairy founder, Wes asked, "What did he do to enable the farm to be passed down to me? And, what can I do to be able to further think ahead and pass the farm down to our kids?" Answering, he concluded, "I think we’re gonna deal with many, many more things that my grandfather didn’t necessarily have to deal with…we’re just gonna have to have our A-game the whole way!"
News & Resources for You:
Learn more about the Kerrs’ successful succession story on "Leave a Legacy TV."
Worth a second look: In 2010, father and son John and Aaron Phipps spoke candidly about the adventure of working together as partners on the farm.
Learn how to talk to dad: It’s about family – first, foremost and always.    eNewsletter Sign Up Legacy Pioneer Badge 300px
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Photo courtesy of the Kerr family photo album (shows Bill with a young Wes).

You Won't Reap What You Don't Sow

Jun 12, 2012


Abandoned Barn   NRCSFrom Legacy Moment (06/08/2012).
Please join us for future issues,
delivered via email each Friday.

For most of the country, planting season is a near memory. As you pause for the next activity on the to-do list, take a moment to imagine what kind of harvest season you’d have if you didn’t plant a crop. It may sound a bit like a cliché, but you won’t reap what you don’t sow.
Now, look a bit further down that to-do list. See the notation, "Do something about succession"? A similar line has been on every to-do list you’ve written for the last couple of years. But, for whatever reason, you haven’t even begun. What are you waiting for? Planning for succession is one of those responsibilities that falls squarely on your shoulders. It’s easy to procrastinate, because nobody says you have to do it.
However, if you don’t plan, there’s a government program that will take care of it for you. It won’t cost you a dime, and it won’t affect your lifestyle. It is an all-inclusive program designed to take care of every concern. You see, the farm will pass to a next generation. The results from your life of work and toil will fall to someone else. The government will help your descendants distribute your assets, ensure your debts are satisfied and allocate fairly to your heirs.
There are plans for every manner of contingency. The government is prepared to help whenever, wherever and whatever circumstances may befall you. The outcome may not be free, and of course the process is subject to the government’s terms and conditions, but for you, during your lifetime, doing nothing is painless and trouble-free. The choice is yours.
News & Resources for You:

When is it the right time
to begin planning?

To help you get started, take advantage of our menu of Succession Planning Tools.
Remember how much you learned from the 2011 Legacy Project Report?  Watch for the 2012 report in your mailbox soon! 


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 Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.


Someone Who Will Care

Jun 05, 2012

 iStock Kneeling Farmer   compressed and flippedFrom Legacy Moment (06/01/2012).
Please join us for future issues,
delivered via email each Friday.

If you haven’t taken the time to view Baxter Black’s latest installment on "U.S. Farm Report," it’s well worth the investment. In "Of The Land" he hits a very sensitive nerve. Especially as he closes with "the daily care of someone with their hand upon the soil." He’s referring, of course, to the land. He’s also talking about the important job of farming and keeping a people well fed. 

As an American farmer, you have an important job. If you haven’t planned for succession, isn’t it about time?
Start with a family meeting, even if informally at first. I’ve listed a few ground rules you may adopt as you gather the family together:
1. Create a safe environment, so everyone may participate.
2. Don’t dredge up the past and don’t allow personal attacks.
3. Follow the agenda and adhere to the time frame.
4. Listen to learn, don’t talk to teach.
5. If the discussion gets a bit heated, anyone may call a time-out.
News & Resources for You:
Your success depends on the quality and quantity of communication with the family.

It’s helpful to map out your discussion topics in advance of your initial family meeting.  
Enroll today in a Legacy Project Workshop.  Coming up soon: Fargo, ND (July 10th) and Omaha, NE (July 12th).


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