The Farm Journal Legacy Project is a concerted effort to address the succession planning needs of America’s farm families.
Polly Dobbs serves on the Farm Journal Project Advisory Team. The team provides insight and tools for Farm Journal media events, magazine articles and “Leave A Legacy” TV. Polly shares the team’s sense of urgency to address the rising average age of farmers and ranchers which is nearing 60 years old. They are on a mission to ensure successful farm transitions to the next generation.
Since gaining the support of DuPont Pioneer in 2010, Farm Journal media, has written more than 70 Family Features for it’s magazine, nearly 40 Question and Answer columns and 250 Legacy Newsletters. They have also produced nearly 30 hours of television, and held over 50 workshops while touching the lives of some 6,000 farmers and ranchers.
Why The Legacy Project is Needed
Alejandro Munoz, Vice President, Global Commercial Business at Pioneer says they support The Legacy Project because “It is absolutely critical that our customers have good succession planning for American agriculture to succeed and prosper.” Farm Journal’s Andy Weber echoes that statement by saying, “The need for succession education and tools cannot be overstated in its importance to individual farm families of this country and to the long-term viability of the U.S. agricultural system as a whole.”
Polly Dobbs On the Importance of Getting Started with Your Farm Succession Plan
In an online article and video by Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor, Dec 18, 2014, Polly is quoted as saying “A lot of families want to stick their heads in the sand and do nothing, but doing nothing is just not an option if you want the farm to have a successful transition to the next generation. A ‘do-nothing plan’ is a disaster waiting to happen.”
So how should you get started? Consider having a family meeting to kick off conversations about the future and who in the family may want to be involved. Polly encourages families to not make assumptions. “The first step is to get over the intimidation factor. Once you start having conversations, a lot of the weight will come off your shoulders,” Polly says.
Once the heart-to-heart conversations have happened, it’s time to get into the more technical aspects of succession planning, such as wills, trusts and transferring property. Polly’s advice is to draft your succession plan like it will take effect tomorrow. “The hard work comes in establishing the foundation for your plan based on today’s circumstances – the tweaks are easy as things change down the road.”