Yesterday afternoon, a photographer came out to our ranch to take a four-generation photo including my grandparents, parents, my husband and I, and our two children. The age gap between the oldest patriarch and the youngest generation spans 83 years, and our photo will be featured in a local farming family magazine printed in our county.
While we posed for the portrait, Grandpa shared stories of what it was like when he was younger and getting his start farming. He talked about a class held for beginning ranchers, and he still has the old text books the instructors taught from!
Considering the technology in the beef business today that didn’t exist when Grandpa was a young man, the books seem awfully simplistic in nature. However, there is much to be gained from listening to the stories of previous generations and learning from their successes and failures in business.
Transitioning the ranch from one generation to the next is generally one of the greatest hurdles a family will face. How do we consider all siblings? What is fair? How do we prepare the next generation to take over and assume responsibilities? Providing answers to these questions will offer much clarity for the next generation and provide a blueprint for the next generation to follow.
In a recent blog post, SKM Associates Family Business Advisors offers advice to business founders who want to pass the business on to their children.
Steve Moyer for SKM writes, “Developing a plan, crafting a process for the development of the next generation, and transitioning of the business to the next generation can feel like a foreign concept or unchartered territory.
“The founder’s heart is generally in the right place in his or her desire for the next generation to take over the business. However, it is not uncommon to hear statements like the following from the senior generation: Why don’t they tell me what they want to do? What do they want? Why won’t they just step up and take responsibility? What do they expect of us?
“The next generation, on the other hand, is often wondering: Why doesn’t Dad/Mom just tell us what they want? When will they retire? What will they do when they retire?”
Moyer says too often, the next generation is never given the opportunity to learn how to make critical, long-term strategic decisions, and he says it’s critical for the senior generation, if they wish to transition the ranch to the next generation, to consciously help the next generation grow through experiences and mentoring.
Moyer adds, “When the proper plans, processes, and guidance are in place by the senior leadership, the next generation can continue building the legacy.”
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.