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Crack open the door to transition talks

Someone must make the first move when it comes to farm transition planning. According to Liz Griffith, a human resource consultant for Encore Consultants, the process would ideally be initiated by the senior generation. However, if that doesn’t happen, she encouraged the younger generation to start the conversation and offered some advice while speaking at the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) Business Conference held last week.

"Approach your parents or grandparents, but in a nonconfrontational way,” Griffith said. Let them know you’d like to discuss your future and where you fit into the business. Then, see if you get permission to move the conversation forward. If not, Griffith encouraged trying to bring it up again in a few months, or in a different way, always staying calm and focused on your place in the business. If you keep meeting roadblocks, consider bringing in help from outside advisers.

Griffith reminded the younger generation that starting a business takes a lot of energy, but so does moving on from one, so be sensitive to other family members’ feelings. Transferring a farm’s legacy is not just about the physical assets. It also includes the skills, values, reputation, and relationships built over years of hard work, she shared.

Abby Bauer

March 20, 2023



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