In the day-to-day operation of a farm it can be a challenge to set aside time to chat about what the next generation expects in taking over the business.
“Hey Mom/Dad/Uncle… I want you to know this is important…” sort of discussions are important because they help establish expectations, which are needed to begin a successful generational transition.
So what are some of the expectations young farmers want their parents or older generation to be aware of? That was the question posed to a roomful of young farmers and industry experts at the ’15 Agricultural Excellence Conference in Regina in late November.
Led by Terry Betker of Backswath Management (2015 Wilson Loree Award recipient — see below), they created a “top 5” list of things they want their parents or the older generation to know about their plans for farming:
- Make a plan — the younger generation wishes their parents understood their need to get a plan in place. A plan provides some certainty and understanding of outcomes.
- Entitlement — the young generation wants their parents to know they believe their parents are entitled to a really good retirement. They want to ensure their parents are looked after.
- Technology — the younger generation wants to try new technology and innovation. There are other ways of doing things.
2. Choice — the partner in the younger generation wants to be able to choose whether to have a career on or off the farm. The in-law could become actively involved in the farm business, but wouldn’t have to.
- And no surprise at number one…work-life balance. The younger generation wants their parents to know that they’d love to farm, but they also want vacations and time with family.
While the young farmers were making this list, a “young at heart” group of older farmers and industry people were tasked with a creating a “top 5” pieces of advice for the younger generation. They started with this list:
And boiled it down to these five:
— Kelvin Heppner (@RealAg_Kelvin) November 25, 2015
On a related note, Terry Betker was also recognized as the 2015 Wilson Loree Award recipient at the ’15 Ag Excellence Conference. Named after the longtime head of farm business management with Alberta’s ag department, the Farm Management Canada award recognizes extraordinary contribution to developing and promoting new and positive change in agricultural business management practices and expertise in Canada.