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Harvesting Your Legacy

Finance First

Use time in the combine to think and plan for the future of your farm

Published on: October 14, 2013

We're in the heart of harvest season. It's an exciting time on the farm – getting the crop in, lots of activity happening all at once, the opportunity to reap the rewards of the hard work we did all growing season.

The chillier weather and darker days might also lead to thinking more about what matters most – our family, the farm, the chance to do what we love every day as we grow our crop, raise livestock and build a successful operation.

The time you spend in the combine during harvest can be a good chance to reflect on what's important to you. Think of it like this: right now you're reaping the rewards of the crop you've planned for, raised and nurtured this past year. It's similar to the legacy you've been creating in your farm business. And that happens over a much longer time span: your whole farming career.

Use time in the combine to think and plan for the future of your farm
Use time in the combine to think and plan for the future of your farm

When it's time to 'harvest' the benefits of the operation you've built, you want to be ready to hand it to the next generation. What are you going to need to do in order for that to happen smoothly?

What plans have you put in place? Do you know who your successor leader will be? Do they know? Do you have a timetable set up for that transition?

How to get there

Harvest season is a good time to think about what you really want for the future of your operation. The key is to figure out what you want to do, what you're going to need to do to get there, and whose help you'll need to enlist in the process. Once you have some ideas around that, you can start taking steps toward making it a reality.

Let your values and your hopes for the future of the farm guide you as you think about the possibilities. Then when the busy time of harvest is complete and the bin doors are shut, you can start taking steps toward putting that plan of action down on paper.

A good start is to work with a legacy advisor who will help you set out on that path. The advisor partners with you and your family to design a plan that will successfully transfer the farm to the next generation when the time comes. Your vision for the future of the farm can become reality.

Today as you harvest your crop, use some of those combine hours to reflect and think about what you really want for the future of your operation. Once the crop is in, take the next step toward harvesting your legacy.

This is your chance to set the next generation up for success on the farm and to give them an incredible gift – the operation you've worked so hard to build and grow.