Are You Sending Your Kids Off the Farm?

April 1, 2011 09:00 AM


Developing tomorrow’s leaders is a crucial part of a farm’s success during transition. Without strong leadership no farm can survive succession. Dave Daley, a notable animal scientist and educator at California State University Chico, shares his leadership development philosophy in Episode 16 of "Leave a Legacy TV."
"I teach an agricultural issues course and I always ask them, ‘What do you think about the future of agriculture?’" Daley says. "Consistently 90% of them say they are optimistic about agriculture."
The 10% of those who say the future isn’t bright are always kids who grew up on farms according to Daley. He attributes that to the level of dinner table discussion referring back to how tough the business is. He believes we create a level of negativity absent mindedly, which is discouraging our sons and daughters to come back to the farm.
"I think we have to really be cautious about how we present the opportunities as well as the challenges," he says.
To be successful upon return to the farm, young producers have to be willing to change. Daley says that young producers have to really think about the reasons for current farm operations and how they can institute change only where it is needed. Young producers must have a set of skills to be successful on the farm according to Daley.
"The skills they need include; critical thinking, the ability to work well with others, to be able to think about new ideas but also the ability to think about and respect where we’ve been," he says.
Like generations before them, young producers must possess work ethic.
"I think I’m a pretty good teacher and I’m proud of the way I’ve taught," he says, "but I’m not sure that work ethic is something I can teach."
Daley says the key to lasting success is the ability to balance new opportunities without throwing away the old. He says young producers must think, "Where is the value and the culture in tradition?" and "Where can I make adaptation which allows me to sustain this to the next generation?"
To learn more about developing tomorrow’s leaders, watch the entire episode.

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