Joining or rejoining the family farm business can be a highly satisfying career and personal choice. It also could be a commitment that leads to calamity. How returning family members can significantly improve their chances of success both short-run and long-run is no easy feat.
Bernie Erven, Professor Emeritus of agricultural economics at Ohio State University and Consultant with Erven HR Services LLC, addressed this all-in-the-family topic as part of the latest installment of the GenNext Webinar Series.
Erven pointed to five challenges that make returning to the family farm difficult, frustrating, and disruptive: 1) Family/business relationships; 2) Planning; 3) Communication; 4) Leadership; and 5) Time passing.
While reviewing each of these challenges, Erven placed the heaviest emphasis on the communication factor. “In my career of more than 40 years now, this issue of communication has caused more strain in family relations than any other single thing I can identify,” he said.
To help clear the lines of communication and navigate around the other pitfalls, Erven offered 10 suggestions to make coming home a success for all involved.