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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.

Talk Succession - or Just Let It Go?

Apr 13, 2011

iStock Brown BarnFrom Legacy Moment eNewsletter (04/08/2011)
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A reader writes: "Now we sit where our folks did so many years ago. We have two boys who would like to farm, but they have good jobs now. Should we talk to them about succession, or just let it go? I am 71 years young, and want to be fair to all."
Thank you for asking. Every day we receive letters, e-mails and phone calls from readers asking if, when and how to tackle the topic of succession planning. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, and I know each situation is different, but there is no single best way to bring up the succession topic. One of our first ‘Leave a Legacy TV’ guests, a communication specialist, very aptly explained that “the most dangerous thing to a family or to an operation is what hasn’t been said.”
I suggest you download the Legacy Project’s Conversation Starters tool. Print a copy for each of your children. Ask them to think about the questions and be prepared to share their thoughts with the rest of the family. Then schedule a family meeting to discuss each person’s interests and address their concerns.
The first family meeting can be as formal or informal as you want. For the reader above, I suggest an informal structure, following a few basic guidelines. A family meeting should:
1. Take place in a neutral location
2. Be scheduled in advance
3. Follow an agenda
4. Abide by common ground rules
5. Conclude with action steps
News & Resources for You
Your success depends on the quality and quantity of communication within the family. Download The Family Meeting to help you plan an agenda for your family's first talk about succession.
Have questions? Let us know.
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