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August 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.

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

Aug 28, 2012

 Row Crop   Microsoft clipart photoFrom Legacy Moment (08/24/2012).
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A bit trite and easy to trivialize? Yet that's what makes an aphorism so easy to recall. Remembering a simple line and repeating it often is how I've learned to do many things.

In learning to fly, I said — "I love to land."  

In learning to speak in front of large groups, I told myself — "If this presentation helps just one person, it'll be worth it."
In learning to write a book, I repeated — "Five sentences make a paragraph, eight paragraphs make a page and 300 pages make a book."
In learning to be a business owner, I vowed — "I can do it better."
Well, you get the point. Using simple, often-repeated statements will help you to learn new skills or reinforce new habits. If you've attended a Legacy Project Workshop, you've heard Ron McMillan, co-author of Crucial Conversations, say, "Get your head right, get your heart right... That's the key to setting up the [family] meeting."
Give it a try the next time you're faced with a difficult situation. Relating directly to succession, I remind folks that the only difference between the person you are today and the one you'll be tomorrow "is the decisions you make and the actions you take." Plan now to leave a lasting legacy.


News & Resources for You:

Consider the Five Keys to Planning Success.

Our planning tools are designed to help you take the first critical steps.
Mark your calendars now to join us for Legacy Project Workshops in December. Registration will open this fall for events in Amarillo,Texas; Salina,Kansas; and Denver, Colorado. 


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From One Father to Another

Aug 21, 2012

 Indiana windbreak   NRCSFrom Legacy Moment (08/17/2012).

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 John Phipps has a gift for written expression. His Summer Top Producer column, "Step by Step, Side by Side," speaks of changing roles, growing together and the ego related to the succession process. From the heart, John speaks one-on-one to fathers in the crowd.

Midway through the column, John hits on a theme that is part of every succession discussion. He writes, "The measure of performance on the farm during my career has progressed from physical prowess and effort to mental agility and decision-making toughness."
This is a constant theme in the succession process. Grandparents and parents alike should acknowledge that the roles and responsibilities for a young farmer are very different from what they were "back in the day."
As a father who would love nothing more than an opportunity to work with his kids, I can relate when John expresses the sentiment, "More than a dutiful son, he now is a dependable partner..."
That might be the single biggest compliment a father can give a son. John goes on to explain, "Shifting between family and teammate roles gets a little easier each season." He follows with a bit of wisdom, "Meanwhile, respect is earned, not just inherited."
He hints to others who aspire to create the right working environment, "...I observe many who work with a son who can neither relinquish authority nor set aside competitiveness to enjoy the blessing."
Finally, the oft overcontrolling father in John confesses a desire for "...getting off the stage as economically and smoothly as possible."
Though I've shared a few excerpts here, you owe it to yourself to read the entire column. When you do, let us know if you can relate.

News & Resources for You:

If you're not sure how to begin the conversation with your family, our Conversation Starters tool may help.
A comprehensive succession plan might provide you with a Springboard to the Future.
Did you know? The Legacy Project Workbook Is available online for free download.


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Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.

The Benefits of a Plan

Aug 15, 2012

Harvesting hay   contour strips   WI   USDA NRCSFrom Legacy Moment (08/10/2012).
Please join us for future issues,
delivered via email each Friday.


Accomplishing goals requires some structure. Planning for ownership transition and the future of your family farm is no different. A comprehensive succession plan will allow you to maintain your financial security while the operation provides for the income needs of a new owner/manager and each family working in and dependent on the operation.
Beyond the financial considerations, a comprehensive plan also ensures the next generation is well-prepared for a leadership role. Let's not forget about the estate tax; a complete plan always includes provisions to satisfy, eliminate or mitigate the tax.
Additional benefits of a comprehensive plan for succession include:
  • Ensuring a smooth management/ownership transition, so that all owners who are active in the operation are well-informed and the next generation is prepared for the opportunity.
  • Fortifying operational strength by encouraging each member of the management team, regardless of generational order, to participate in a professional development program.
  • Making certain that no matter what happens, including premature death, disability or dissolution, the operation can continue and there's adequate capital to weather the challenges of adversity.
  • Providing a lasting legacy, a testament to your efforts and an example for future generations to follow.
A comprehensive succession plan is merely a binder full of information until you bring it to life. The process of planning combined with implementing the various elements along the way is a big step toward peace of mind, control through growth and a legacy of success.
News & Resources for You:

The Legacy Project FAQs will address some of your questions about how to begin.
Our tool may help you to clarify your goals.
"Obstacles or Opportunities?" An Arizona dairyman shares his hope for future generations. 

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Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS


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