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Dan Wilson, who farms in Northwest Iowa, recently suggested I read Joel Salatin’s post in the latest Stockman Grass Farmer. I am summarizing some of the column here. Not to embarrass Dan, but he and wife Lorna are working hard to put into place the tips listed below, including their amazing work to develop a multi-salaried, multi-enterprise operation. Right now, they are farming with two sons, one daughter and two daughters-in-law on a farm that includes row crops, beef cattle, dairy cattle, hogs and much more.
Many of you have read Joel Salatin’s work and some of you have even seen him speak at PFI or other events. He is a firebrand advocate for small sustainable agriculture (and a funny guy as well). He has added editing the Sotckman Grass Farmer to his speaking and farming enterprises.
Salatin writes: “Within half an hour of our farm I can take you to 100 farms that are either on the market now, will be in the next five years or have been sold in the last five years. If this were a disease, it would be called an epidemic. The fact that in the next 15 years 50 percent of America’s agricultural equity — land, buildings, equipment — will change hands is imply unprecedented and undeniable.”
Salatin writes that families who have successfully transferred farm businesses to the next generation have commonalities:
1. They view the farm as a business and not a hobby.
2. They talked about the transfer respectfully with each other, often with a mediator.
3. They honored the child/children who stayed on the farm and did not saddle that sibling with payments to non-farming ones.
4. They endeavored early on to develop multi-salaried, multi-enterprise operations.
5. They cultivate family time.
For more on the Stockman Grass Farmer: https://www.stockmangrassfarmer.com/index.php
For more on Salatin: http://www.polyfacefarms.com/
For more on Dan and Lorna Wilson: http://www.practicalfarmers.org/news-events/newsroom/news-release-archive/20320/