Talking about the farm can be difficult. It means talking about business, money and the future which can be scary. But it’s scarier to not talk about it and not know what the plan is. Owning farm land is special. It’s something that not everyone is blessed with in their life. However, too often we see families with huge rifts in them because of ground that was passed down to them, or if plans were not followed through with after a sudden passing. Land that your family has owned and worked for years or generations needs to be cared for.
What I’m saying is that the holiday season is a great time to start a discussion. I guess in my family it’s one of the few times of years that everyone is together and when it comes to planning everyone needs to be on the same page.
But how you might ask? How do you even begin this conversation about your farm? And isn’t everyone on the same page as I am already? Those are great questions. To start have you ever communicated your ideas to the family before? Do your children know what to expect if you pass away? If the answer is no, we understand. Those kind of things are hard to talk about. But, please take my word for it. Being proactive about planning is MUCH better than being reactive.
So, your family is all going to be hanging around after the holiday and the opportunity presents itself. How do you start the conversation?
Here is some verbiage that might help:
“In 1954 I bought my first farm from my father… Over the years I’ve seen it grow and it has been the success of our family today. I want to talk about what we are going to do with the farm after I am gone.”
“I’ve been thinking about the farm and I was wondering how you see our farm developing over the next 20 years?”
“I want to share my ideas about the farm with you guys.”
“I was reading this article that Mid-Continent Properties wrote that brought up some good ideas…”
After you have everyone listening,
Discuss what your goals for the future farm are. Sometimes it’s easiest if everyone writes down priorities and then share them as a part of your discussion. If there are generations working together be sure to clarify the family’s expectations. Respect for the business and each other is essential for all generations involved. If you are looking to transfer the farm to different hands we suggest you work with trusted professionals to get the project started.
If you have never discussed the farm with your family this holiday could be a great time to start. And if you need some insight please call us here at Mid-Continent Properties. We would be happy to advise you in your endeavor to keep the family farm in the family.