Iowa Land Sales & Farm Management is passionate about farm succession planning and the role it plays in preserving Iowa’s farmland and the viability of the family farming operation for the next generation.
We believe that one of the most important elements of preserving the family farm is to make sure all stakeholders are informed of the happenings of the farm. Granted, some information won’t be appropriate for younger members of the farm family (e.g., income estimates, cash flows, etc.), but we encourage open communication of the farm’s activities with all members of the family. This allows spouses, siblings, and children that are interested in and affected by the operation of the farm to feel a sense of ownership, even if they’re not involved with the day-to-day functions. Developing that sense of ownership and pride is a critical element to creating a shared goal for all stakeholders to get behind and to help preserve the farm from generation to generation.
I come from a typical family farm, the type in which most of the decisions are left to the family patriarch, with very little communication with others. It’s not done intentionally, but rather out of habit. It’s been this way for generations and it has worked well enough. So why change it? Well, there are many reasons to change that way of doing things – far too numerous to go into here. But what I can tell you is, after having been on both sides of that fence, it makes me sad to see Iowa families work so hard on all other aspects of their farm only to neglect taking just a few minutes to sit down and develop a plan that involves the entire family.
I won’t get into the usual topics of estate taxes, capital gains, and so on. That’s the easy stuff to figure out. The real issues here are the emotional ones and the breakdown of communication between family members that can occur during difficult times. When this happens, it can put the entire farm and the whole family at risk. The good news is that, with some proper forethought and open dialogue, a plan can be enacted which addresses the concerns of all family members and helps preserve not only the family farm but family harmony as well. So in other words, farm succession is about planning for the future, but it begins by maintaining good family relations right now.
At Iowa Land Sales & Farm Management we are trained to help facilitate discussions involving farm families. I’m a fourth generation farmer myself. Our farm manager, Matt Mann, is a third generation farmer. Together we have the experience, expertise, and common sense to help you and your family with all aspects of planning for the future of your family farm. We’re passionate about helping you preserve the Iowa farm and family.
Contact us today to learn more about our farm succession planning and management services and strategies.