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Saving the Family Farm: Know-It-All Kids

It’s a proud day when the son or daughter graduates from agriculture college and comes home to farm. But, their world of societal and technological differences can cause friction between generations.

Andy Junkin is a farmer, mediator, and coach for farm families. He says these eager young folks have one-thousand-and-one ideas for how to improve the farm operation. By idea number 357, the patriarch or matriarch might perceive these suggestions as criticism of how he or she has done things in the past.

"I always tell the young farmers when they graduate from agriculture college, don’t go home and change things as far as buying a new combine, buying the farm next door, doubling the size of the barn, or even trying a new type of teat dip. The first thing you’ve got to do is change how your family deals with change," says Junkin. "You’ve got to get a process in place that you can sit down on a regular basis with your family and be able to brainstorm. The patriarch or matriarch have to be involved."

Junkin says when the older generation sits down on a regular basis with the college grad, it helps whittle down those 1001 ideas in a way that benefits everyone.

"Generally what I see is two or three family members will come to the table and at least two ideas are good ones, and one idea is dumb. And through that process, the patriarch or matriarch is able to explain to the kids why that idea is dumb, and the benefit is that you’re able to transfer wisdom," he says.

Parents, allow your children to grow on the job. Kids, realize that you do have a lot to learn.

Hear more of how Andy helps farm families work together by listening to my podcast with him

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