What is in this article?:
• The decision to transfer the management of a family farm should be the culmination of many years of discussion between the older and younger generations.
A minimum of two and preferably a three year trial period can be used as a means to determine that the younger generation has the management abilities to increase farm equity.
Likewise, this testing phase will show that the younger and older generations can work together with the goal that the younger generation will eventually bear full responsibility for managing the farm.
At the conclusion of the trial period, a framework will be developed that will outline the time frame and legal entities for transferring farm assets to the “next” generation. Remember, once the older generation transfers ownership of farm assets (cattle, equipment, land etc.) to another person, they lose control of that asset!
Consequently, the trial period is critical for the younger generation to demonstrate they have the management ability to own and operate the family farm.
Every generation has its challenges. The older generation has a wealth of information and history tends to repeat itself.
The younger generation needs to exhibit respect, patience and humility when asking their elders questions regarding how they managed the family farm and increased farm equity.
On the other hand, the older generation needs to be open minded, willing to listen and try new management schemes that can increase farm profitability.
A wise and profitable farmer said that whenever he attended an Extension program, industry sponsored meeting, or a farm auction he always tried to learn one new idea that he could bring back to the farm that would increase farm profitability and make his work load easier.
In an era of rapidly changing technology, the younger generation brings new ideas and the ability to “think creatively” back to their family’s farm.
By maintaining an open mind, the older generation can transfer management and ownership responsibilities to the “next” generation as they utilize innovative techniques to preserve and increase farm equity.
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