The Questions You Should Ask

Last week I was in Columbia, SC, teaching at the Agribusiness Leadership Institute sponsored by AgSouth Farm Credit, a newly-merged Farm Credit association. I sparked much interest in the spouses when I mentioned the farm wife series of articles I’ve been writing. Let’s continue our dialogue.

Last time we focused on investing outside the farm or ranch business. Now, examination of business documents must be discussed.

Do the in-laws and business partners have the proper business transfer paperwork in place? These documents might include buy-sell agreements, a will and written estate plans. Some family members may say it is none of your business; however, it should be your concern if your immediate family has a business interest. Don’t let a grunt, groan or scowl deter you from seeking the detail that is necessary in today’s world to operate a professional business.

Do your brother-in-law, mother and father-in-law have prenuptials or buy-sell agreements that are documented? A stepfather-in-law or brother-in-law can be either your best friend or your worst nightmare.

Has the business arrangement been updated in the past five years? A business is a work in progress that requires periodic monitoring given changing business and family conditions.

By following the advice I’ve given in these past three columns, hopefully you’ll be well on your way to becoming a good farm wife who is involved in ensuring the success of the family farm business in the future.

Hopefully this has given you something to think about on these cold winter days.

My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist at Virginia Tech. He recently completed a sabbatical working with the Royal Bank of Canada. He is now back at Virginia Tech with his academic appointment, which is teaching, extension, and applied research.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

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