Editor’s Note: Renewing the Countryside Senior Fellow Teresa Opheim has written a wealth of farm transition resources, and we’ve compiled them on our Farm Transitions archive.
Hey junior generation: Do you need to talk to your elders about their farm transition plans, but you don’t know how to start the conversation?
Try writing down the top 3-5 questions you have for the senior generation about their farm transfer vision, goals and plans. One question might be: What time frame are they thinking about for the farm business succession? Hand, mail or email the questions to the senior generation beforehand, to give the senior generation time to think before you sit down to talk. Be prepared to truly listen, take notes and ask clarifying questions.
Then think about: What do your elders most need to know about you and the farm transfer? Here are some sample questions:
- Why do you farm/want to farm?
- What are your professional short-term and long-range goals?
- When you think about taking over the farm, what challenges do you anticipate?
- What rewards do you anticipate?
- What do you feel best about how the farm transition is going so far?
- What do you not feel so good about how the farm transition is going?
It seems we are always full of assumptions about the other generation, assumptions that may not be accurate! More questions and advice on starting the conversation between senior and junior generations is available at landforgood.org.