Farming is not for the faint of heart. With commodity prices, trade wars, consumer pressures and challenges from good old Mother Nature, it is stressful. But add in transferring a farm from one generation to another, and the stress becomes downright seismic due to the emotions involved. To help open up conversations about the emotional side of succession planning, Sipcam Agro hosted a special Learning Center Session during this year’s Commodity Classic in San Antonio.
Brownfield Ag Network’s Farm Director, Cyndi Young, emceed the panel discussion that featured people in various stages of a farm or agribusiness transition talking through their experiences. As the president and third generation of family-owned agricultural product manufacturer Sipcam Oxon, Nadia Gagliardini, shared how she took over the family business and has since been able to evolve it to meet the changing agriculture industry.
Four farmers joined Nadia, sharing their compelling stories of their own farm transitions, including:
- Jon Whatley, a Texan cotton, corn and milo farmer who also raises some cattle
- Brandon Hunnicutt, a Nebraska corn, soybean, seed corn, popcorn and sorghum farmer
- Patty Leonard, a Virginia dairy farmer who has sold most of their cows and now focused on agritainment
- Jason Medows, a Missouri cow-calf operator, full-time pharmacist and host of Ag State of Mind
“There are a lot of resources becoming available for the business side of succession planning, but discussions like this panel are even more important to show farmers that they’re not alone in navigating those tough emotional challenges,” says John Gertz, chief executive officer of Sipcam Agro USA. “A family business and family farm operation are passionate topics, because people have invested their heart in what they do and want to make sure it’s here for years to come, preferably while keeping those strong family relationships in the process.”
This isn’t a conversation that is going away any time soon. We encourage you to view the panel here and share your insights to keep this topic going. Your willingness to share could help others navigate the transition conversation, or you may find inspiration yourself.