; Communicating Farm Family Values: What´s Important and Who Cares? (FINAL) | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Communicating Farm Family Values: What´s Important and Who Cares? (FINAL)

Margaret Viebrock


Each farming generation has plans for the future generation, but are they realistic? Will the younger generation come home and what if they don’t? Will the farm be managed the same? Will they work from dawn to dusk and listen to advice? Expectations related to decision authority, family security, generational problem solving and daughters coming home to farm offer many dilemmas to ponder. All of these issues can make a difference in prioritizing values and setting goals. An experiential activity will give ideas to help farm families examine their expectations for communicating what’s important as they consider retirement and the transfer of their assets.

County faculty from Washington and Oregon Extension initiated a farm succession planning project in 2006. During the next 2 years, three farm succession planning workshops at 6 different locations were presented. One part of the project was to help families develop the skills to talk to their younger generations. Not only did the older generation need to identify what was important to them, but also be willing to hear what was being said when it didn’t follow their perceived plan. As a result, they learned how to initiate the dialog about their preferred future. They became more proficient with active listening and dealing with discord. Most importantly, they realized that sometimes contemporary ideas can open up new possibilities and meet the needs of both generations.

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