Leave a Legacy
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.
From One Father to Another
Aug 21, 2012
From 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.
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Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.