building stronger family relationships for multi-generation farming


Achieving stronger and more positive working relationships between farm family members is a management strategy that promotes a more successful multi-generation family farming operation. Identifying opportunities which avoid the common mistakes that often cause a family farming failure is a strategy for long term success. The bond of family members working together to achieve the same goals provides a farm family with the inner strength to overcome the stress and daily pressures of the farming operation itself. Strong family relationships are characterized by a dedicated commitment to the success of their farming operation as well as fostering support and appreciation for each other.

Some multi-generation farming operations are defined by family harmony and success while other operations struggle from one conflict after another. That raises the immediate question “why?”. Personal conflicts within a family can destroy the effective working relationships of a farming operation. This presentation shares the real life experiences of farm families that Ron has counseled for more than 40 years. The seven most common mistakes that result in family farming failures will be identified. Ron will point out several ideas on “what to do and what not to do” to help family members better understand each other when farming together. Family characteristics of successful multi-generation farming operations will be examined to demonstrate how potential conflicts can be resolved in a more positive manner. Ideas on how to build stronger family relationships in a multi-generation farming operation (even during stressful times on the farm) will be shared to help farm family members continue farming together with a successful future.  

SUMMARY POINT:   Never forget that the real success of a family operation being a total “team effort” among all family members involved in the farm production business.   The need for all family members to have the same goal and commitment to make it work as a farm family unit can never be overstated. The importance for all family members to feel included with the opportunity to be involved in business decisions is crucial for insuring the continued success of a multi-generation farming operation.