| ||Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) staff recently attended the Farm Management Canada Agriculture Excellence Conference in Regina.
“The young farmer bear pit (under 40), and the young at heart forum (over 40) were very interesting,” says Rick Dehod, farm financial specialist, AF, Edmonton. “Conference participants broke into two groups and brainstormed on the top five things they wished that the other generation understood about their generation, and then provided their advice regarding the challenges the other group faced as farm managers.”
According to the sessions, the top five things the young farmers (under 40) want their parents to know:
5. Make a plan - the younger generation wishes their parents understood their need to get a plan in place. A plan provides some certainty and understanding of outcomes.
4. Entitlement - the young generation wants their parents to know they believe their parents are entitled to a really good retirement. They want to ensure their parents are looked after.
3. Technology - the younger generation wants to try new technology and innovation. There are other ways of doing things!
2. Choice - the partner in the younger generation wants to be able to choose whether to have a career on or off the farm. The in-law could become actively involved in the farm business, but wouldn’t have to.
1. Work-life balance - the younger generation wants their parents to know that they’d love to farm, but they also want vacations and time with family.
Top five things the young at heart (over 40) want their children to know:
5. Communicate more and communicate better
4. Figure out your expertise - it’s ok to make mistakes. You can’t do everything or know everything. Professional’s don’t know all the answers but seek information and assistance to strengthen those areas that farm managers need assistance in.
3. Farming is a business - you are a family first and you are in the business of farming.
2. Risk Management - start early and don’t be afraid. Farming is a risk business; develop your skills and tools to mitigate those risks.
1. Plan both for succession and for the business. Years fly by quickly and before you know it you will be the manager who is looking to slow down or retire.
For more information, visit AF’s Farm Manager website at agriculture.alberta.ca/ or Farm Management Canada’s resource site.