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Growing Trust When It's Time for the Next Generation to Farm

PHOTO: Transitioning the family farm or ranch to the next generation can be a contentious time. An expert on successful, and profitable, transitions is offering free workshops in Montana this week. Photo credit: Inspired Images/Pixabay
PHOTO: Transitioning the family farm or ranch to the next generation can be a contentious time. An expert on successful, and profitable, transitions is offering free workshops in Montana this week. Photo credit: Inspired Images/Pixabay
March 2, 2015

MISSOULA, Mont. – When it's time to hand down the family farm or ranch to the next generation, it's not always a time of family harmony.

An expert on successful transitions is presenting free workshops in Montana this week to help smooth over the rough spots.

Andy Junkin says while most folks think the biggest hurdle would be about money, he points out that's only 10 percent of the issue. The biggest challenges are ideological.

"Often, emotionally, the father or mother, they feel that the son or daughter's new ideas are an attack of what they've always done in the past," he explains.

He recommends that transitions take place over a period of time that involves all family players, rather than just a day of handing over the keys.

Junkin has another recommendation to instill a spirit of cooperation.

"Everybody comes to the table once a month with new ideas as to how to improve the operation,” he says. “You get everybody brainstorming, or it's decided by the group 'that's not a good decision.' You're teaching wisdom."

The workshops are presented by the Montana Farmers Union. They are in Missoula on Tuesday, Bozeman on Wednesday and Havre on Thursday.


Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT