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Infuse in your kids the values needed to keep your family farm thriving.

Darren Frye, CEO

October 17, 2022

2 Min Read
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John Fedele/Getty Images Plus

Q: My wife and I built a successful farm and have three young kids. I'm concerned that the work of the five previous generations could be taken for granted. How can I safeguard our farm’s financial foundation and raise kids who appreciate the grit and determination that will be needed for this farm to continue? – R.L., Ind.

A: Looking at the numbers, agriculture is exceptional – because it’s almost impossible to measure the existence of family businesses in non-agricultural ventures lasting beyond three generations. However, in ag, four, five and six generations aren’t uncommon at all.

The answer to your question starts with being intentional about how we raise children. If you build a successful farm, you may now have the means to do things that you might not have been able to do when you were growing up. We must be intentional about infusing values that are not only good for our kids as individuals, but may also help make it possible for the farm to continue.

I believe one of the most important things we can do while raising children on the farm is to instill a sense of stewardship – obviously of the land, but also a recognition that regardless of how large or successful the farm is, it remains separate from our identity as individuals.

This begins with how parents model their view toward what is valued most. It’s been said that “More is caught than taught.” The sooner you can incorporate stories of what it took for previous generations to build the farm and bring in experiences for your children to take ownership for something early on, the better.

What values and mindset do you want them to be living out when they’re 20, 30, 40 years old? Then, what types of experiences would be helpful for them to be exposed to, early on?

Talk with your kids about their role as a steward of this business that’s been alive for five generations. If they choose to be involved, they’re also choosing to steward it onward to future generations. That requires humility and responsibility. What will it look like to earn the opportunity to be part of it?

About the Author(s)

Darren Frye

CEO, Water Street Solutions

Darren Frye grew up on an innovative, integrated Illinois farm. He began trading commodities in 1982 and started his first business in 1987, specializing in fertilizer distribution and crop consulting. In 1994 he started a consulting business, Water Street Solutions to help Midwest farmers become more successful through financial analysis, crop insurance, marketing consulting and legacy planning. The mission of Finance First is to get you to look at spreadsheets and see opportunity, to see your business for what it can be, and to help you build your agricultural legacy.

Visit Water Street Solutions

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