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Communicating, farm transfers and the importance of farm meetings

Agriculture.com Staff 07/07/2010 @ 9:08am

Too often, it's the lack of communication that scuttles an effective farm transfer: the legal arrangements may be sound and the cash flow may have been worked out to everyone's satisfaction, but if the communication isn't honest, direct, and clear, the transfer process may literally fall apart.

This is where farm meetings become so important. Farm meetings are important for the ongoing operation of the farm, since they allow the people involved in the operation to do several things:

Create an open, trusting environment.

Establish goals.

Solve problems.

Delegate responsibilities.

Share financial information.

Change legal agreements.

Air grievances.

Share long-range hopes.

Keep communication flowing.

Farm meetings become even more important during farm transfers since the transaction will establish the course of events for years to come and anxiety levels may be higher than normal.

Regardless of whether this is an inter-generational farm transfer or a transfer between unrelated parties, it's important that the older and the younger generation meet to share their values, hopes, and goals.

Business arrangements, legal and financial issues are easy topics, but talking about values, hopes and goals is often very difficult.

Worksheets on these "touchy-feely" topics are available and can be completed by each person involved in the farm business. If the worksheets are completed before the farm meeting, the agenda can include sharing the results. Sharing differences and similarities can be instrumental in building trusting relationships.

Lifestyle Values and Choices

Goal Setting/Action Planning

My Wants, Hopes, and Wishes for Our Farm Operation.

It should be clear that communication is the very heart and soul of successful farm transfers. If communication is honest, direct, and clear, the farm transfer can be a positive experience for all of the parties involved. If communication is unclear or if any of the parties involved mask their true feelings, it's very likely there will be problems in the future.

Regular meetings can be useful in establishing and maintaining clear lines of communication. All parties need to recognize that changing circumstances require continual assessment and revision of goals. As in any successful business, communication needs to be regular, frequent, and ongoing.

Too often, it's the lack of communication that scuttles an effective farm transfer: the legal arrangements may be sound and the cash flow may have been worked out to everyone's satisfaction, but if the communication isn't honest, direct, and clear, the transfer process may literally fall apart.

Why is it important for your farming operation to have farm meetings? Name some benefits. Ask others who work with you for ideas.

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