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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.

Opportunities and Obligations

Sep 21, 2010

From Legacy Moment eNewsletter (09/17/2010)

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This reader’s email ended with… "So I guess my question for you is, can you help me make a decision? I want to take over the farm; my Dad is willing to let me rent all of the ground and the cattle working facilities. But I will have to purchase the cows and all of the equipment…  I want the opportunity; I just need someone to tell me it’ll work out."

iStock Cattle MountainsWith every opportunity there is an equal or greater obligation. In your case, the obligation comes in the form of risk. In coaching families through the many elements of the succession planning process, we often talk about the opportunity–obligation off–set.

Sir Isaac Newton taught us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If we apply this simple law of motion to your situation, you can begin to imagine that the opportunity your dad is offering you comes with an equal and opposite obligation [risk].

You’ll be signing a lease, buying equipment and cattle, and quitting your corporate job and moving your family – all of which create financial, social, and physical obligations. If opportunity and obligation are equal and opposite, the only way to generate the results you desire is through actions. I use the following equation to demonstrate the concept:

 Opportunity / Obligation + Actions = Results.

Risk is a natural part of any agripreneurial venture. If you want the opportunity, you must accept the risk.

Resources & Links for You:

  • Write a business plan.
  • Enlist a team of advisors [read: mentors] who will evaluate your plan and then council you through the start-up phase. You can use the Selecting an Advisor Tool to help you identify the right advisor for you.
  • Jump in with both feet, and don’t look back; nothing is more motivating than no plan ‘B’. When faced with sink or swim, most people start flailing their arms and kicking their feet.
  • With a well-researched business plan, hard work, and persistence, you can succeed.


Have you checked out the new and more robust AgWeb and Legacy Project Web sites? They offer easier navigation and more reasons to check back every day.





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