Tips for the Younger Generation
Recently I asked a number of executive producers at the The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP) School to give suggestions for involvement of the younger generation in agriculture. Here are some of their ideas and quotes:
- “Show them the actual books, don’t just share horror stories concerning family members.”
This quote illustrates the importance of sharing the farm business financials. I remember a humorous story that occurred in a seminar in Clyde, Kansas when an 85-year-old admitted it was about time to show his boy the books. Around the corner came his 65-year-old son!
It is important that you have a set of books that talk and really tell the story. Does this business generate a profit and have a gain in net worth from earned income? What is the cost of production and breakeven return on investment?
As my good friend, Don Jonovic, the outstanding family business planner, suggests, keeping the books closed creates secrets and this destroys open family communications.
- “Teach them to live on less and enjoy a simpler lifestyle. Benefits of lifestyle make up for lower wages or income levels.”
This past week there was a great article in the USA Today on younger people leaving farms and going to the big city for the good life and a higher salary.
First, it is not how much you make, but how much it costs you to live that is the bottom line family economics. Second, yes, have the lifestyle, i.e. malls, schools and shopping within a reasonable distance is important, but the downside is higher cost of living, traffic delays, crime and no elbow room or peace and quiet.
Yes, lifestyle will drive the business model of farming and business in the 21st Century.
Isn’t it amazing the number of sports stars and programs on the police blotter? The big money greed and fast paced lifestyle of big-time college and professional athletes is starting to catch up to them!
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.
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