Home Farm Equipment Smooth farm transitions, part two: Keeping everyone accountable

Smooth farm transitions, part two: Keeping everyone accountable


In part one of this series we defined how perks and pay can typically derail an honest farm transition plan. One other problem to observe: Who’s accountable and for what?

Not like different companies, farmers hardly ever hand over the keys to the following technology and stroll away. More often than not, the method is gradual for a lot of causes. In some respects, strolling away would simplify the transition course of, however most farmers and farm households don’t desire it, and I perceive why  To many, farming is greater than an occupation; it is a heritage.

A gradual transition technique is nice, however the boundaries of labor, cash, and decision-making get fuzzy in a rush, particularly when there are unstated assumptions. It does not need to be this fashion. You’ll be able to create clear boundaries.  It simply takes intentional effort.

Transition plans are sometimes tense as a result of who’s “in charge” is altering. Out of respect, the following technology does not wish to push too onerous. Usually the senior technology does not actually wish to surrender an excessive amount of too quick both. They wish to keep concerned and nonetheless have enjoyable farming. So all of it turns into fuzzy.

Who really is in cost? For the way lengthy? Will they cease being the primary decision-maker ?  Most likely not, however what’s going to they let go of first? Who will take over? Will their pay keep the identical or change?

Accountability blueprint

Creating an Accountability Blueprint solves many of those challenges. Right here is the way it works.

  • Carry all generations collectively who’ve a stake within the transition plan for the assembly. You may wish to give your self at the least two hours to work via it for the primary go at it. Relying on the farm’s make-up and measurement, it typically is sensible to incorporate farm managers as nicely. A number of floor guidelines make the method work nicely. Ensure everyone understands these guidelines.

    • The Accountability Blueprint helps map out who does the work. It isn’t an possession chart. It doesn’t have titles comparable to VP, Proprietor, President, and many others.
    • This course of is ahead wanting about two years. Who was accountable for the work previously does not matter. The main target is on the long run.
    • This course of wants the interplay of everyone.  It is going to take a number of passes to get it the best way you need. Simply maintain at it till it appears to be like proper on your farm.

A big 4×8 whiteboard works finest, however a big PostIt Word flipchart paper also can work in a pinch.

  • Throughout the highest, checklist out the entire fundamental work areas of the farm. For instance, a farm with row crops, swine, and a small fleet of over-the-road vans may appear like this.

  • Now it is time to take one of many areas and construct it out. Suppose via a manufacturing cycle and construct it from begin to end.  For instance, a primary run via the Row Crop part of the Accountability Blueprint might appear like this.

6-24-21 transition 2.png

  • This stage of element is nice for now. Subsequent, go onto the opposite areas and construct them out. Do not be stunned if there’s debate about the place to place a piece space. For instance, whether or not trucking is critical sufficient to be a standalone unit or not.

    • Attempt for sufficient element so a stranger may take a look at it, and inside a minute or two, have a transparent image of how the farm operates. Too little, and there’s an excessive amount of gray space (confusion). Whereas an excessive amount of element can really feel like micromanaging so attempt to discover a steadiness.

Now, place within the names of precise folks. Solely do that AFTER the chart is absolutely constructed with the main points. Ready to place in folks’s names helps maintain attainable turf wars or egos from getting in the best way.  Whoever has their identify on the chart has full accountability for making certain that work will get carried out.


6-24-21 transition 3.png


What to observe for

You will have heard the adage, “When everyone is in charge, no one is in charge.” That’s completely true. Resist the urge to put a couple of identify beneath an space. Two or extra names on anybody space enable an absence of dedication and accountability to creep into your farm.

This can be a good probability for the exiting technology to select and select what they wish to grasp onto and what they wish to let go of. So usually, the senior technology is relieved to see a plan of learn how to exit with out giving up full management and strolling away.

This course of helps outline gaps in expertise or experience that must be crammed earlier than the following technology takes over. It additionally helps the farm perceive who actually brings worth to the operation and who’s alongside for the journey. Taken to the following step, the farm can construct out job descriptions and use these areas of duties for figuring out pay, bonuses, and job evaluations.

We typically see solely members of the family on the chart or one identify in lots of locations without delay. Suppose onerous about whether or not that individual is holding onto an excessive amount of work or making an attempt to manage an excessive amount of. It is onerous for the following technology to step up if they do not have BOTH the accountability resting on their shoulders in addition to the authority to make the selections.

Discover that within the remaining rendition, Invoice is on the prime with the function we name Integrator. It is his job to make sure that the entire work areas have what they should get the work carried out, everyone is aligned across the imaginative and prescient, and the workforce leads are successfully speaking. It is a massive function.  Usually the senior technology decides they now not need a lot using on their shoulders, and it is time for another person to step up into this function. However, typically the senior technology desires this function because it entails mentoring and training the following technology.

We have additionally recognized Group Leads, slightly below the Integrator.  They’ve broad powers to do their job. A query that we get is, “Does this mean we will not help each other?” Completely not!  What it does imply is that the Group Leads are anticipated to speak with the folks beneath them but additionally with the opposite work areas comparable to Swine, Workplace, and Store Upkeep. It means everyone asks for assist in the event that they want it, and the Integrator helps maintain all of it flowing.

Whether or not the farm is small or giant, utilizing an Accountability Blueprint retains the peace amongst household and lowers confusion amongst workers. It additionally makes certain the work will get carried out. When the exiting house owners can see a method out whereas nonetheless staying concerned, that makes for a terrific begin to a transition plan. Be forewarned! This course of can have unintended penalties. Generally Dad desires his identify off the blueprint quicker than ever!  However that is a dialogue for one more time.  

If you need to study extra about Accountability Blueprints, simply drop me a note or schedule a 20 minute assessment by clicking here.  

Tim Schaefer supplies specialised advising and training to farm and household. He focuses on the core areas of Transition Planning, peer teams by way of the Executive Farmer Network, and serving to farms scale up for development. He could be reached at [email protected] Need notified when Tim writes new blogs?  Join his email list.




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