Find Out If Young Leaders Are Ready for Farm Ownership

January 17, 2016 05:08 AM

Want to discover if the next generation is ready to lead? One option is for the older generation “play possum” during one of the farm’s busiest seasons, recommends David Marrison, associate professor and Extension agent at The Ohio State University.

By that, he means go on vacation for a week or two during harvest, and don’t have any communication with the next generation while you’re gone. This will give them an opportunity to be forced into leadership. It will also help them discover what they need to learn.

“While you’re gone, the younger generation will find out what they don’t know,” he says. “When you return, it’s a great time for them to ask the questions they need answered.”

Marrison recommends this from personal experience. His dad received a cancer diagnosis during planting season and died seven weeks later. Without those seven weeks in which he and his siblings were forced into leadership and had the opportunity to ask their father questions, they wouldn’t have been prepared to take over the farm when he died.

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