Lyle and Garnet Perman, Lowry, S.D., have some clear goals that have been guiding the family's work on Rock Hills Ranch lately.
They want to successfully transfer the diversified grain and cattle operation to their son, Luke, and his wife, Naomi.
They also want to continue to improve land so it is more even more productive for future generations of Permans -- namely Luke's and Naomi's children, Ella and Isaac.
To accomplish the first goal, the family came up with a unique succession plan. Though Lyle and Garnet haven't retired and are only in their late 50s they have leased the ranch, equipment and cows to Luke and Naomi.
Lyle – who operates an insurance business on the ranch -- works for Luke. Luke makes most of the decisions about the ranch. "We still talk about things," Lyle says. "But he's in charge."
At the end of the year, Luke pays Lyle in cash and cattle.
Lyle and Luke decide how to market their cattle, but Luke is responsible for marketing the grain.
"Leasing everything to Luke and Naomi has put them in charge and given them responsibility," Lyle says. "I hope it will help them succeed in business in the future."
Luke says he likes the arrangement.
"Dad still gives me advice, but I make decisions," Luke says. "I think I it caused me to look at things closer, in a more business-like way."
Read more about their succession plan and their range management in the January issue of Dakota Farmer. It's available online.