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Planning for the future amid questions

Agriculture.com Staff 06/17/2008 @ 7:49pm

I am the sixth child of eight. In 1984, my family moved to a 250-acre farm in western Pennsylvania, and it has been a struggle to keep the farm going ever since.

Many things have happened over the past 24 years, the biggest being the death of my father, our leader, in 2003. Through the years we have all left at one time or another for college, marriage, etc.

During my father's battle with cancer, I moved home and ran the farm for the past five years. In July of last year, I took a job with an ag equipment company that required me to move two hours away. I couldn't stay on the farm.

My youngest brother, Tim, moved home a month before I left, and he is now in charge of day-to-day operations. I help when I can.

My mother is the owner and has only recently decided to open the books for us to see. They're not in the best shape. The farm is in OK shape financially (but not good) and only survives because of outside incomes and family help. My mother has a large amount of credit card debt, as well as loans we made for farm conservation work.

Several of us -- especially me -- have been trying to get a plan together to assure the farm's success and to make sure it remains a home to all of us.

Tim and I recently sat down with Mother and began to set goals and to build a plan for success. We didn't make it far before we realized that we are not sure exactly what it is we want and how or when to involve siblings, if that's even necessary.

We have a ton of issues that we want to get sorted away so we can finally move forward, but how?

I am the sixth child of eight. In 1984, my family moved to a 250-acre farm in western Pennsylvania, and it has been a struggle to keep the farm going ever since.

We don't have a lot of information about Z.M.'s siblings or who's contributing what to the farm. But we know that the entire family has a stake in the eventual plan.

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