Conducting a Successful Farm and Ranch Family Business Transition Meeting
This week is National Ag Week and Tuesday, March 20, 2018 was the 45th National Ag Day. Events have been held around the country celebrating agriculture and the essential role of agriculture in a strong economy. At Hallock & Hallock we believe that one of the most important issues facing agriculture in the 21st century is successfully transitioning the family farm or ranch to the next generation.Effective family business meetings are a crucial part of the transition process. A family business meeting provides the family members involved in the business with an opportunity to come together and discuss issues of interest or concern. These meetings should not be about day to day concerns, but rather should be used to discuss long-term plans for the operation and management of the business. These meetings should occur quarterly, but not less than bi-annually.Preparation for the meeting should include creating an agenda that identifies the date, time, and location of the meeting. Careful attention should be given to the location and timing of the meeting. At the family home over a holiday is often a poor choice of both time and location. Attendees should submit issues for discussion at least two weeks prior to the meeting and the agenda should be distributed at least one week prior to the meeting. In addition to new items, the minutes of the prior meeting should be reviewed to allow for inclusion of follow-up matters. At the meeting, someone should be tasked with keeping the minutes. Those minutes should be retained in the company minute book and a copy should be distributed to all attendees.The family meeting should be viewed as an opportunity to give participants an opportunity to develop skills such as, leadership, conflict management, listening, speaking, and management. Additionally, the meeting is also a chance to help family members understand their role in and gain knowledge about the successful transition of the farm and ranch business.Here is hoping that as a result of good planning, 45 years from now we are continuing to celebrate the strong role of agriculture in our country.