Farm families can succeed in a succession plan with communication and running the family farm like a business, especially when family unexpectedly returns to the farm.
When farm families have several children, it’s often the case that one of the children wants to stay and farm while others pursue careers elsewhere. However, sometimes family unexpectedly returns, as was the case for Karen Edwards.
Karen grew up in Mississippi on the family farm and moved to Colorado with her husband to work as a hair stylist. After having their daughter, she wanted to give her a sense of farm life, and a visit home turned into a career change and return to the family farm, as reported in “Back in the Fold”.
Karen’s brother, who had been working on the farm since he was 8, left to pursue a coaching career. So Karen took over his management duties, and with the rest of the family, divides up the labor on the farm. She now works on the farm’s human resources managing nine employees, paperwork, and planning the future of the business. Her father is the CEO and owner and makes the big decisions. Her cousin manages operations.
In addition to making sure estate planning, legal and tax aspects are in order, a successful succession plan involves communication. The family has embraced the division of labor on the farm and given returning family defined roles and goals. Employees have regular performance reviews, an employee handbook, and formal work schedules. In short, they run the family farm like a business.
If you need help implementing a succession plan for your own farm operation, contact us today.
Reference: Progressive Farmer Magazine (July, 2018) "Back in the Fold".