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.
"Cultivating Multigenerational Success in the Agricultural Community"
Aug 02, 2008
Sixteen years ago Farm Journal introduced Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie and the test plot program. The goal was to improve productivity. Through the combined efforts of test plot farmers, chemical companies, seed suppliers, equipment manufacturers, Ken and the editors of Farm Journal, the test plot program is a resounding success. It has served an instrumental role in changing the face of production agriculture for Farm Journal readers.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the test plot farm families for their willingness to participate in this multifaceted, long-term effort. Without their abiding assistance the advancements in technology, equipment development and tillage practices would not have been possible. The efforts have improved disease control, conservation and resource management.
Our surveys tell us you want more. It seems that the most confounding and complex problem confronting the agricultural community is the challenge of creating a viable succession strategy. A comprehensive plan will:
- Seamlessly transition the family operation to a next generation
- Prepare tomorrow’s leaders for changing roles and responsibilities
- Design a feasible retirement option
- Address estate tax issues
- Ensure operational continuity in case of death or disability
There are really only two options – to plan or not to plan. Not planning leads to business failure and family discontent.
Farm Journal is taking a more active role in providing succession solutions. Like Ken Ferrie and the test plot program, we are offering to use the expertise of my Legacy by Design succession planning consultants to work directly with farm families as they engage in the planning process. Farm Journal, Top Producer, Dairy Today and the other labels of Farm Journal Media are offering a comprehensive succession planning engagement to three farm families in exchange for the opportunity to chronicle the process for readers, viewers and AgWeb visitors.
Succession planning is normally a very personal and absolutely confidential affair between the family and the professional succession planning team. The process takes place over eight to eighteen months, and involves the current owners and active family members. It all starts with a consultation, goes through a series of discovery interactions and culminates in a formal succession plan and implementation schedule.
“The Farm Journal Legacy Project is a real step on the road to cultivating multigenerational success in the agricultural community,” says Charlene Finck in Farm Journal, Late Spring 2008. As we make plans for this project, please consider getting involved.
- Do you need the guidance of a firm that specializes in succession for agricultural concerns?
- Will you implement recommendations designed to protect your farm and create a lasting legacy?
- Would you like others to learn from your experience? (No financial information will be revealed.)
If you can answer yes to the three questions above, and you want to be considered for the project, please send a letter that shares a brief overview of your farm, your succession planning frustrations and your goals for leaving a legacy. Please limit your letter to two pages. From the entries, we’ll call to verify information, ask some clarifying questions and select three operations to participate. Submission details here.