Guest Blog Post: Passing Down a Family’s Heritage

July 22, 2010 at 10:52 am Leave a comment

Thanks to Ashley Messing for today’s guest blog post! She talks about keeping farming in the family. Enjoy!

For those of you who do not have a background in agriculture, I’m going to try to give you an inside look at one of the toughest situations in our industry. This exciting, yet challenging decision is to pass the family farm down to the next generation. When you grow up in agriculture either you love it or you hate it. If you love it, it is a part of you. It’s in your blood and there is nothing else you want to do. The 4 am mornings and the 1 am nights are worth every second of the pain.

These farms are founded on generations of family heritage. It’s not uncommon to walk on a farm that has been in the same family for over 100 years. With this kind of history there is extreme pride to take over the family farm. The next generation often wants to do a better job than their parents, because being able to continue the tradition of generations past is a privilege. Along with this pride for the family tradition comes a great deal of pressure to make the business work. Usually there isn’t just one generation or family depending on a farm’s income. More often than not there could be two or even three generations depending on this farm to be successful.

This demand to be successful puts a great deal of pressure on all generations involved. Often the older generations have a difficult time giving up the management of the farm because they don’t want anything to go wrong. At the same time the younger generation feels the need to be useful and they can do a better job to make the farm more profitable than it has been in the past.

In addition to the pressure put on a farming family there are many decisions that must be made. The state of the dairy industry is dire, the costs to produce milk haven’t gone down but the price farmers receive has dropped drastically to below costs. This makes full time farming almost impossible, there are many farmers who can only do it part time. In order to afford what they love to do, they have to work another job.

The process to pass down the farm is more complicated than I could ever describe on this blog. It involves many hours with a lawyer, often many disagreements and working through the thousands of laws that work against the family farmer. Passing down a family farm is not as simple as it may seem.

In the end, we will always do what is necessary to keep up this family heritage. To be able to say we are the next generation is source of pride for us. Being able continue the tradition of feeding world is a feeling we cannot put into words. We strive to do our best so our children and their children can know this feeling; being able to raise our children on a farm in the way we were raised. I want to give my children that opportunity, the chance to feel the dirt between their fingers, to see the sun rise over an easterly pasture and to work side by side as a family.



Entry filed under: Guest Bloggers.

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