Farming has changed exponentially over the last several decades. In order for the family farm to survive the growing competition of corporate farming, it needs to be innovative and modernize its operation. This is an important point for the experienced elders to consider when advising their coming of age children. Initially, insuring the future of the farm, needs to start with what is fair and equitable within the division of labor. Duties do not need to be equal in order to be fair. The operation is a business with many facets: finance, logistics, production, labor, and the list goes on. Guiding each young adult toward a lead in the family creates ownership in the future of the organization.
It is not possible to be equal; everyone cannot be CEO. However, it is equitable for each person to run a division. To begin with, when each focuses studies in an area like agribusiness, agronomy, or sustainability, for example, it gives each member a level in expertise in that specific area. Additionally, some growing farms have encouraged their adult children to work outside of the family farm for at least five years before joining the legacy. Furthermore, by leaving the area for internships or the five years away, it adds perspective. One might note, growing corn in southwestern Arizona looks very different than growing corn in northeastern Nebraska. Learning techniques such as precision farming and cropping plotting in other geographical areas invites innovative ideas on the home front.
Planning for the future of the operation involves more than a love of the land. Giving the adult child the opportunity to leave, learn, and prosper will not only create growth for the business, but a renewed sense of ownership for the land and its product. It is fair to have a piece of the family pie when the labor is divided equitably. Being in business with relatives is a powerful, predominant form of enterprise in the American landscape; giving a voice to the next generation is important and instrumental.