Women in #ag #farm Transition


Last week I attended the Women in Ag Conference in Kearney.  It’s always a great conference to see many friends and meet new ones who live and work in agriculture!  I also enjoyed teaching a very engaged group of women the second day about crop science investigation.  It was fun for me to see them dig into the hands-on activities!

The first session I attended was by Dave Specht from the UNL Ag Economics Dept.  He does a great job of relating to the audience and talked about “Woman’s Influence-the Key to Generational Business Transitions”.  Dave has a consulting business on the side and as part of that business he meets with families to develop a farm transitional plan based on the Continuity Quotient he developed.  The Quotient contains 7 parts and I’ll share some key highlights via questions he raised that stuck out to me.  Perhaps they’ll raise more questions for you as well.
 
1-Business/Estate Planning:  The goal of the business/estate plan is to reduce the number of surprises to the farm and family members upon death of the farm owner.  Is your plan coordinated with all the advisers in the operation and does it consider the perspectives of all the generations involved in the operation?  Is it even documented and has it been communicated to the entire family before the owner passes away?
2-Communication:  Are family members able to openly discuss the farm and what it means to them?
3-Leadership Development:  No one is ever “ready to take ownership”; it is learned along the way.  Opportunities for the next generation to make decisions need to be allowed.  Often we hear of exit plans, but is there an “entrance plan”-a strategy to invite the next generation back to the farm?
4-I didn’t catch the name of this point but essentially Dave was saying that if the next generation is always asking his/her parents for a bailout, that it delays the trust that the person can someday operate the farm.  How the next generation handles personal finances is important in showing he/she can someday run the operation.
5-Personal Resilience:  How does the next generation handle challenges?  Does the person retreat and avoid them or does the person look for ways to overcome them and use it as a growing experience?  If the person retreats, he/she may not be wired for ownership in the future.
6-Retirement/Investment Planning:  When will the older generation plan to retire?  How much will the farm support (meaning how many people)?  Where will retirement cash flow come from?  The goal is to not rely on the next generation to generate your entire retirement income.
7-Key non-family employees:  Sometimes the most valuable family business asset goes by a different name!  Is the vision for the family farm communicated to these employees?  How you talk about employees to next generation and how you talk to next generation about the employees is important in dictating future partnerships; someday the employees and next generation will be partners.

I would recommend checking out Dave’s Web site at http://www.davespecht.com for more information.  He provides communication and consultation about farm transition and financial planning.  Life is so short!  Make sure you have a plan in place that follows the keys Dave provided above!

About jenreesources

I'm the Crops and Water Extension Educator for York and Seward counties in Nebraska with a focus in irrigated crop production and plant pathology.

Posted on February 27, 2012, in Discussion Topics, Event, Reflections and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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