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What Farm Families Should Do Together

What Farm Families Should Do Together
Sit down and plan succession to next generation!

Fathers and sons, fathers and daughters or fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and grandparents- the combination doesn't really matter. Whoever is involved in management of your farm operation, and whoever will be involved in the future, owe it to each other to sit down and discuss issues about eventual transfer of power honestly and openly. Purdue University ag economist Alan Miller believes that's one of the most important things people can do. It can also be one of the toughest to do.

That's why Purdue Ag Economics offers an annual workshop focused specifically on helping families learn how they can better work together on the farm. The 30th edition of the Farming Together Workshop is slated for January 29 and 30 in West Lafayette.

What's different about this meeting is that it isn't just a series of talks, one following the other, Miller notes. Instead, Purdue specialists present sessions on key parts of working together, including communication and developing a succession plan. After each presentation, there's a working session unlike most you've been to through other meetings and workshops.

You don't sit with strangers and discuss bringing in new partners and planning the future of the farm with strangers. Instead, participants form each individual farm operation work together. The goal is for them to lay a strong foundation for farming together, Miller says.

Howard Doster, now retired from Purdue Ag Economics, used to circle this date on his calendar. It was one of his favorite activities because he could watch farm families grow together, even over the course of the weekend, Many would come in shy and not wanting to talk to one another in this setting, he relates. By the time the workshop ended, often these groups were discussing tough issues together, with everybody participating.

Sometimes family members find out things they didn't know before the workshop. Chief amongst those is often how a family member feels about a certain situation on the farm. They've kept their feelings bottled up, which is the recipe for an eventual train wreck. Workshops such as this one provide the opportunity to break down barriers so they can chare honest feelings. The result is a chance to resolved potential conflicts before they burst upon the scene and burn out of control at a future date.

Registration is $150. The workshop is truly designed for family participation, not just one individual, Miller asserts. Learn more at: www.agecon.purdue.edu/extension/programs/farm_together.asp. Or call 765-494-4310 or email: mslopsem@purdue.edu to register.

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