Posts Tagged ‘farm family communication’

19 Things to do if You want to take over the Farm

Posted on: September 23rd, 2017 by Richard Cressman

 (Taken from a presentation to a group of Junior Farmers.)


  1. Learn to love the numbers. Managing a business requires an absolute thorough understanding of all income and expenses.
  2. Make certain your children get to spend time with your parents.  Never withhold the grandchildren from spending time with their grandparents if you are having disagreements with your parents. Never stay away from family events either.
  3. Take responsibility for Everything.   Leaders do not make excuses and point fingers when things go wrong. They accept full responsibility and look for solutions to ensure different results in the future regardless of who made the mistake.
  4. Learn to say Please.  Saying please conveys humbleness.
  5. Learn to say Thank you.  This is so important, especially when directed towards your relatives.
  6. Write down your goals.  Knowing where you want to go is the first step to having a successful journey.
  7. At the end of each day ask yourself these two questions, “how did my day go, and what could I have done differently?
  8. Pick your friends wisely.Friends who are not farmers are also important.
  9. Ask yourself periodically if you would like to have yourself as a friend or boss?   Critical self -reflection can be sobering and very enlightening.
  10. Get up early!Being the first on the job in the morning sends a clear message you are the leader.
  11.  Learn to forgive and let go.  Holding grudges – particularly when working with family drags you down and makes reaching your goals much more difficult.
  12.  Create a list of the people you admire.  Think about why you admire each person?
  13. Learn and practice patience.  Patience eliminates regrets later.
  14. Teach yourself to listen and then ask questions It is difficult to find out what others are thinking when your mouth is open.
  15. Spend time learning about your personality style.  Take courses, read, and go to workshops to reaveal your strengths and weaknesses.
  16. Shake hands when meeting people and look them in the eye.  A handshake conveys respect regardless of your age.
  17. Occasionally ask yourself, “Does the way I am living my life make a difference in the lives of others?
  18. Gratitude is the foundation for success. Happiness is contagious.
  19.  Make  sure you tell your parents how grateful you are for what they are doing for you. You are privileged to be the next generation to carrying on your family farm business. Your parents could sell the farm and retire in luxury instead of giving you this special opportunity to make your dreams come true.

A Father-Son debate: 28% N or Dry Urea on their Corn Crop

Posted on: June 16th, 2014 by Richard Cressman


The corn had been planted for about three weeks and was nicely out of the ground.  The farmer I was talking to is approximately 32 years of age and he and his wife have been in the transition process with his parents of assuming the ownership and management of the farm.  (I will call him Joe)  They milk over 180 cows and Joe’s parents are starting to move into the background as far as the workload and management goes.

Joe asked me whether spreading dry fertilizer on the standing corn would be a better option than side dressing liquid 28 percent nitrogen. Joe’s father had always used dry fertilizer in the past and their crop yields were some of the best in the neighbourhood.  There was no doubt the dry fertilizer program had worked in the past.  I asked Joe what he thought would be the best for the corn crop.  He said he would like to side dress the 28 percent nitrogen but his father wanted to spread dry fertilizer because it could be done a lot quicker.  The culture on this farm is that they do all of their own fieldwork and custom workers are very seldom hired.  With a lot of cows to milk, extra labor is a short commodity.

I asked Joe if there would be a big difference in the yield using liquid 28 percent nitrogen versus dry urea.  He said the concern he had was that spreading dry fertilizer on ground that might not get moisture could cause a loss of nitrogen.  We stood looking at each other for a few moments and then I asked him what he thought the decision should be regarding liquid side dress nitrogen versus spreading dry nitrogen.  There was about 20 seconds of silence and then he said, “I think we will spread dry nitrogen this year”.

I think Joe made an excellent decision that day and this is why.  He did not agree that his father’s choice of fertilizers was the best, but he also knew that it had worked very well in the past when father was the sole decision-maker and that using dry fertilizer for another year would not have negative repercussions for the farm.

In Joe’s case, his father is giving him a significant amount of responsibility in managing the herd.  Father has given up almost all input into what goes on in the barn.  However, when it come to managing the cropping program, father’s confidence in Joe’s ability is increasing, but in the case of the dry fertilizer versus the liquid, father still wanted to have some input – yes he still wanted control.

Joe decided not to argue over how to  fertilize the corn this year.

As I walked across the yard to leave, I thought to myself, “Joe is a young person who is willing to set aside what he thinks is the best decision this year for the cropping program, and not challenge his father”.

In Joe’s case it has been amazing how he and his father have transitioned the management of the herd – it has been almost seamless.  Production has continued to rise as Joe has assumed more responsibilities.

Joe’s secret is that he never forced his his views on to his father if they were contrary to what he knew his father wanted to do.  On the other hand, his father has felt respected by Joe and has continued giving Joe more responsibility.

Next year I will be surprised if Joe is putting dry fertilizer on their cornfields.  Dad will have had another year to think about the value of side dressing and with Joe’s enthusiasm for that type of fertilizer dad will probably be making the suggestion to go liquid himself.