Ron Hanson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, delivered an important message about managing farm and ranch properties for succeeding generations during the 100th annual Cattlemen’s Day at Kansas State University on March 1.
Hanson introduced his presentation by establishing the role of the father.
“Key point to remember, dad wears two hats: boss hat and dad hat,” Hanson said. “Wearing the boss hat, it means he is in charge. When he is wearing dad hat, he’s more understanding but when things go wrong and he gets upset, the boss hat is put back on.”
Everyone can relate to this type of dad, because he’s the one who takes charge of the operation and continues to support and help grow his family.
“If dad just wears his boss hat, ‘my way or else,’ his children may think of themselves as only the hired help,” Hanson said.
The outcome in the long run may result in the son or daughter not wanting to come back and run the family operation. Then what happens?
“But what if something were to happen to dad,” said Hanson. “If dad would happen to pass, then mom takes control of the family operation. Would everything remain the same? Or did mom always feel it was ‘his’ farm?”
During special holidays and birthdays, dad can sometimes become so caught up in working sun-up-till-sun-down he forgets to make time to celebrate with his family.
If dad fails to include mom in the operation, would mom sell the farm without the children’s consent and move to town or even get remarried?
“Did dad love his farm more than he ever loved mom?” Hanson asks. “Family relationships are no different than a marriage.”
When the parents reach a point where they cannot take care of themselves, which child will be the one to come back?
“Children should always respect the wishes of their parents,” Hanson said.
Communication is key in a relationship between parents and their children.
“What if the ‘what if’ actually happened?” asked Hanson. “It is important to have something well designed and in writing for a family’s operation estate.”
Now what may rise to the surface is, “what if mom and dad can’t reach an agreement for their operation?”
“Dad and mom need to speak with their children and find out if there is any reason their children wouldn’t be able to get along after they pass,” Hanson said.