Posts Tagged ‘farm stress’

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.

Bringing the Next Generation into Farming

Posted on: November 5th, 2015 by Richard Cressman

Getting the next generation started into the business of farming is a monumental challenge facing many rural families. The rapid rising of land prices, equipment, and facilities over the last 30 years has created new barriers for those wanting to enter farming.

Almost every agricultural sector today is facing the grim fact that if current asset values are used, it is virtually impossible to show a positive cash flow when doing a startup budget. The reality check is that parents who are now looking at turning over their farms to their children were able to start their farming careers with a total investment of a couple hundred thousand dollars. Today for one family to earn a living from farming requires the use of assets valued well in excess of one million dollars. Sacrifices undoubtedly will need to be made and somebody will need to subsidize the entry for the next generation.

A successful farm transfer can be problematic if the parents do not have a clear picture of their retirement: where they will live, vacation, what they will do with their time, and most importantly, what all of this will cost. For parents, particularly fathers, sitting down and talking about retirement can be a difficult task.

The younger generation wanting to take over the farm will also need to sincerely ask themselves, “is this really what I want to do for the next 20-25 years? Am I willing to pay ‘the price’ through sacrifices of time and emotional energy to make a farm business succeed?”

This whole process can be boiled down into three fundamental questions that need to be answered by parents and children. (1) What type of financial arrangement needs to be put in place so that mother and father can enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep and not toss and turn wondering if they are making the right decision? (2) Is the dream of the younger generation big enough to continue to pull them out of bed every morning until the debt is paid? (3) Is it eventually possible to put together a deal that will satisfy the answers to questions one and two?

To help parents answer the first question, they will first need to determine if the farm business has the financial capacity to cash flow the debt that will need to be assumed by the children. Secondly, they must assess their confidence in their children: do they feel the next generation is capable of running a successful enterprise? Thirdly, they must determine how to treat each child fairly when it becomes time for the estate to be divided.

These three points can be summarized as: cash flow capabilities of the business, confidence in your children, and the capacity to be fair to everyone.

The younger generation must consider several points when answering their question about their desire to farm. How strong is your passion to be a farmer? Do you have the mental toughness that will be needed? Do you have the ability to work with and manage other people? Is your education extensive enough to help you see the ‘big picture’?

Putting the financial deal together is much easier if everyone has first sorted through the answers to their respective questions. Most farming operations already have access to excellent accounting and legal resources. If you are not confident in your advisers you should seek out individuals whom you deem to be competent.

Farming can provide a wonderful lifestyle. Transferring this lifestyle to the next generation can be done relatively stress-free through meticulous planning. This process takes time and requires patience on everyone’s part to ensure a happy ending.