Taking the First Steps

October 4, 2010 05:23 AM

The Pekareks traveled 300 miles from Burlington, Colo., to Wichita, Kan., in August for one of our Farm Journal Legacy Project workshops. John, who farms part-time with his parents, was the first attendee to check in, arriving before registration opened. Five of his siblings and his parents, Ruth and Norbert, arrived soon after. To say that the Pekareks care deeply about their farm and are motivated to create a succession plan is an understatement. Attending the workshop, though, is the first tangible step the family has taken.

“We don’t know what all we need to do, but we know we have to get going,” Norbert says. “We want to do right by the farm and our eight kids.”

Norbert rattles off the names of his children like a roll call: Steve, Nancy, Linda, Alice, Diane, Angela, John and Laura. Steve, the only child who farms full-time with his father, stayed home to see a child off to a first day of school. Only he and Laura, a sister in Florida, weren’t there to take the first steps together.

Armed with copies of the comprehensive workbook provided by the workshop, the family went home to do their homework and start building a framework for their succession plan.

The Pekareks were not alone at the Wichita workshop. Nearly 88% of the families who attended do not have a written succession plan. At other workshop locations, up to 100% of the families did not have a plan in place.

“Taking the first step and simply getting started can be difficult,” explains Kevin Spafford, Farm Journal succession planning expert. “Our initial workshops are designed to help families launch their effort—both during the conference and with the workbook when they return home.”

Spafford takes the workshop on the road again in December. He is also busy planning conferences for 2011 that will help families move to the next steps for succession. For updates, electronic copies of the workbook and to see a photo of the Pekareks, visit www.farmjournallegacyproject.com.

Sign Up to Attend a Legacy Project Workshop

  • Fishers, Ind.: Forum Conference and Events Center, Tuesday, Dec. 7
  • Columbus, Ohio: Bridgewater Banquet and Conference Center, Wednesday, Dec. 8
  • Lansing, Mich.: Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center Friday, Dec. 10

To register, go to www.farmjournallegacyproject.com/events or call (402) 330-0289.

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