Cutting The Curve Podcast: Balancing Farming, Family, and Business To Create A Lasting Legacy
9 Jan 2441 min 32 sec

Unfortunately, many farm families end up with fractured relationships at the time of transition. This can all be prevented according to Farm Family Coach, Elaine Froese. Do you have a transition plan in place for your farm? Is the next generation involved in your farming operation, and if so, are they equity holders in the farm? What about the non-farming siblings — should their inheritance be the same as the farming siblings? If you’re involved in a family farming operation, it’s time to share your vision for the future, then put a plan together to make it reality. This episode will help you get started.

Presented by Advanced Drainage Systems



00:00 Farm family business. What's your vision for the future? Keeping it harmonious, making it so that the family farm business stays intact? 00:08 We all know there's lots and lots of dysfunction that happens when heirs pass away. 00:14 Are you preparing for a future that is going to be what you want it to look like and is healthy for the family? 00:21 That's what we're talking about in this episode of extreme Ag Cutting the curve. Welcome to extreme Ag Cutting the Curve podcast, 00:30 where you get a guaranteed return on investment of your time as we cut your learning curve with the information you can apply to your farming operation 00:39 immediately. Extreme ag, we've already made the mistakes so you don't have to. Managing your farm's water resources is a critical component to a successful and 00:50 sustainable farming operation. Advanced drainage systems helps farmers just like you increase their yields up to 30% with their technologically advanced water management products. 01:02 Visit ad s to see how they can keep your business flowing. Now, here's your host, Damien Mason. Hey there. 01:11 Welcome to another fantastic episode of Extreme Acts Cutting the Curve. This is an episode that I want you to listen to and I want you to share it with 01:17 everybody you know that is in the business of agriculture. You know why? Because this is one of the weakest spots. 01:23 One of our biggest weaknesses in this business is agriculture. I'm sorry, in, in agriculture, is that we don't treat it like the business that it is. 01:31 I I just pose this question to my guest, Elaine Fra, who is a family farm family coach, and actually that's her website, farm family coach, uh, Elaine and I know each other. 01:40 She's been on my business of agriculture podcast. She does a lot of good working with farm families on the transition and the setup and structure of their business so that these things can be perpetually 01:51 what you want it to be. Unfortunately, too many farm family businesses don't focus on the family or don't focus on the business, and that's what we want to talk about today. 02:04 Elaine, thanks for being here. Always a pleasure. So, uh, you've been doing this for a long time. I think we're gonna give a quick little background so that people don't think 02:13 you're just some huckster out here trying to, you know, bring people together and seeing kumbaya. Elaine is a real live farm, or her and her husband farm 5,000 acres, 02:23 16 miles north of the North Dakota border in Manitoba. Talk to me a little bit about that. So we've been farming, uh, my husband's put in about 44 crops. 02:33 It's a Bo Select Seeds. It's a certified seed business, which my 35 year old son now owns as a seed cleaning, custom certified seed business. And we have FRAs family farms, 02:44 which is 5,000 acres of beautiful crop that we just finished harvesting last night. So all the corn is in the bin, the soybeans, the peas, the canola, 02:53 the fall rice growing now was planted in September. And yes, so just like many of the listeners, I am a farm partner. I am a spouse, 03:03 I'm a grandma, and I'm a farm family coach who wants families to understand they can find harmony through understanding, but they need to get their act together. 03:12 So quick and dirty. You and I talked before we hit the record button. This is something that I think it's more pervasive in agriculture than any 03:21 other business. If you owned another business, you owned four Burger King franchises, you probably, and it was, and you worked with your spouse and, uh, one of your kids, two of your kids, 03:31 whatever, you would probably have a better business structure on what happens when that thing, but then the emotion comes in with the family and then war. She, 03:39 it's the emotion of the granddad's farm and all this. And instead of addressing it, it's like absolute, put your head in the sand kind of a thing in agriculture. 03:50 And there's a word, there's a word for that. I've, I've said many times, Damian, that procrastination and conflict avoidance is killing agriculture. 04:00 And I don't want you to have sad stories. I want farm families to grab the bull by the horns, literally and take charge of their affairs. But many people come to me and say, 04:10 Elaine, we are too busy. We have too much work to do, and we're too overwhelmed and we don't know where to start. So this podcast today is the map, and the map is you have a family system, 04:21 you have a farm, and you need to have a business. And, and the question, one of my coaches, Glen Dodger always asks, and he's a retired, uh, account, 04:29 he said, is this a lifestyle or is this a business? And you and I are both in the court of, it's a business. So treat it like a business and get your affairs in order. And again, 04:41 the hard conversations, Damien, are not happening because people are afraid to open up a can of conflict. 04:48 And so they just keep pushing it down the road and eventually it's gonna blow up on them rather than being something that can be navigated with good, um, 04:59 support from people who are skilled at helping people feel safe and respectful to talk about tough things. 05:05 What is interesting, again, why, I mean it's ag people, uh, are reluctant to give credibility if you're not from their cloth. 05:14 Uh, you know, right. And I, I'm not being any way mean, but that's why I make sure that I, when I said this is a Elaine phrase, who does the, she works with farm family businesses to help them be, 05:25 to transition, to succeed, to keep, you know, harmony, et cetera. And you also are a farmer. And so Well I, 05:31 Right. And I, I, you're, You're in your sixties now. Exactly. And you've got a 35 year old son. So just real quickly, how did you do it with your family? 05:38 And then we'll talk about how with your family farm business. Well, Well, first of all, we have a great culture on our farm. So we, 05:45 we treat each other well. We have a shared value system, and we also make decisions collaboratively. 05:51 We also hired a farm family coach who was part of our accounting firm to meet with our son and daughter-in-Law, independently of us. 05:59 We also did personal style assessments, which I use in my practice even before my son was engaged to his girlfriend to marry her, to find out how we're wired. 06:09 So what are the strengths and weaknesses of everybody on the farm? And then in terms of our son getting equity, 06:15 he started getting equity when he was 21 when his landlord cut the rent and said, I need you to have me, uh, $220,000 by next Friday. 06:23 So we started transitioning wealth to him when he was 21 years old and fresh out of Ag school. So we walked, 06:30 There's a lot of people say, well, that's easy for you to say you're, you're rich. You have an off-farm business, you have 5,000 acres. 06:38 I don't have that kind of money. They'll get hung up on that. Okay. Fair. 06:43 You know what I'm saying? So the, there's gonna be somebody that's listening and I'm not being mean. No. So, so in 06:48 Other words, if I ever tell somebody, go Ahead, regardless of what your net worth is, Damien, I don't care what your net worth is. Your net worth is, uh, 06:57 I do care that you're profitable and viable. I also care that you love what you're doing and that you're not killing yourself doing it. 07:05 And I also care that you're not creating more anxiety over the uncertainty of the future for your spouse. Because look, I'm gonna be 67 next Friday, 07:15 and I have many 70 year old women who I sit in front of and say, Elaine, when is it my turn to get what I need and what I want? 07:23 I've given my best 50 years to this business re and again, if it's not profitable, Damien, that's a whole other different discussion. Yeah. 07:30 Because you do not wanna pass debt servicing on to the next generation if there isn't viability and profitability in that business. 07:38 And that's where you need to know your numbers. And, and on our son's case, we needed to know first if he was committed and passionate to farming, 07:46 which we determined by the time he was 25, because we gave a deadline to that. So in this conversation about how do we get people to the business table, 07:57 we focus and execute. And the other sense of overwhelm is there's way too many plans. There's a plan for when you die, which is your estate plan. 08:05 There's a business plan for making you profitable. Now there's a communication plan for you to make decisions collaboratively between the generations so that everybody has a voice. Oh, but wait, 08:18 some of your listeners don't want to share their farm with anyone else. Did you know that? And it's my way or the highway thinking? 08:26 Well, but I wanna, I wanna, I wanna get to that stubbornness and not sharing. Let's just go back to this example. 08:30 So I brought up that there's gonna be someone that would object to how you did with your son, but the point is, you said transitioning wealth, 08:36 essentially what you're talking about is some of the farm assets. You said if you're going to be in this family business son, 08:42 you're going to also have some assets. So I understand that grow, didn't you tell me once before you also paid him a salary? Uh, 08:50 we hear the story about Junior came back and it could be boy or girl, you know, junior came back and, you know, worked on the farm for 20 years and then, 08:59 you know, never really made anything. And and he always, or she always thought that when mom and dad die, 09:03 he's gonna get some kind of a good deal. No, and that's, that's the whole sweat equity slash now we call it delayed compensation 09:10 conversation. And there's ways to compensate for that, but it has to be done through written business agreements. So if there was a promise made that I will cut your salary by 20 grand a year 09:22 and 10 years goes by, then you owe your son or daughter $200,000 of equity that you have not yet compensated them for. Yeah. And the problem is, 09:31 Damien is too many young, well-educated farm men and women come back to their farm on a promise rather than a contract or a written agreement. 09:42 And the other problem is shifting roles. So my husband is not leaving farming, but as Dick Whitman, who's a wonderful consultant in Idaho, says, 09:52 are you stepping back without stepping away? Yes. And so, where is your income going to come from for you listening who are an aging 10:01 farmer? If all of your wealth is tied up in the business and you have no personal financial liquidity on the personal side, 10:10 then the farm has to cashflow you for the next 20 to 30 years. And you see, now we're talking business, and I was just in can west in Banff, 10:19 Alberta this weekend with wonderful veterinarians full, uh, large animal vets. 10:25 And one of the breakthrough moments for them was looking at the value of their vet practices on one side of the, of the flip chart. And then on the other side, 10:35 their personal wealth. And my challenge to them was, how much are you gonna draw from the business? So farmers listening to this, do you expect the farm to pay you 40 KA year for the next 20 years? Great. 10:49 Where's the other 40 K gonna come from? And it's not coming from your pension. 'cause that's not that great. Oh, 10:56 Wait, why, why did you ask where you're saying that you need more than 40 K to live? Well, I'm saying that most listeners, and we talk about your farmers here, 11:03 that are not high net worth farmers to buy groceries and to live well in the US of America right now, according to farm credit, 11:11 you need between 75,000 to $84,000 to live. Yeah. So let's just talk about basic groceries. Yeah. Going, putting, you know, all the family living stuff. 11:24 And that's why the next gen is so upset because they are not even making family living payments and then don't even have any disposable income to 11:33 service debt. Mm-Hmm. And that's the business outcome. You and I want, we want to know the cash flow, the projections, 11:42 and the fair exchange of value for each generation on your farm and in the business. 11:50 So one thing that I say, and it does get people mad, uh, I say, okay, again, we all have, we all have these things that, so we avoid that, 12:00 which we don't like to do. Right? Uh, if you, if you hate doing pushups, you'll do push it away. Don't do pushups. Mm-Hmm. But the thing is, Mike, 12:06 if you're a farmer and you had a field that was full weeds, you'd take care of it if you had, 12:12 'cause you can see the results, Damien. Yes. And if you look out the window and you see a bunch of hungry cattle, it's in our nature to go and take good care of those cattle. 12:20 Why don't you take care of this side of it? Because again, they, they avoid it. 'cause they, it is not what they want to do. And it's actually irresponsible. 12:28 It's as irresponsible as not spraying the weeds or feeding the cattle. It's, it's how, so, taking 12:33 Care, right? Taking, taking care of your family involves being clear about everybody's expectations. And how do you get people together? 12:42 If you can't do it yourself is you get an objective third party who's a trained facilitator to draw people into the conversation and to promise 12:52 professionally that it will be kept safe and respectful. Because people are afraid of bombs. Right? 12:59 They're afraid of putting gas on a fire. We all know what happens in the gar in the garbage bin that we used to have those old barrels that used to burn your garbage in. Right? 13:08 You put gas on the fire and kaboom, things explode. Right? So for farm families, they need clarity of expectations, 13:16 certainty of agreements and timelines. And those agreements, Damien, as you say, need to be signed contracts or understanding. And so you asked about our farm. 13:26 We had a very interesting situation with Wes' father, where we had an operating agreement that was very clear how when we first started farming with his parents, it was a 60 40 split of income. 13:39 Then it became 50 50. And then in July or June of 1992, it became a hundred percent zero when we actually bought the farm. But news flashes 2023. Now, 40 years later, 13:52 you can't buy a farm for $15 million fresh outta college. But what can you buy? But what can you buy? 14:00 You can do this gradually. It doesn't, it's not all or nothing. And I think that's the other thing, older farmers listening to this are afraid, 14:09 but they don't wanna tell anybody what they're afraid of. Mm-Hmm. So they're afraid of, they're, they're afraid of dying. And then also they're, 14:16 they, they wanna still be in charge. I mean, there's all that thing, so letting Go of control. 14:22 But here's the thing, they, they, it is fine. You can still be in charge and fact bring in the next generation. And you said contractually, okay, we're gonna pay you, but you know what, 14:31 we're not gonna pay you. What maybe you could go and, and make, you know, uh, in, in Indianapolis, whatever, in 14:36 A different business. Yeah. In a business. But you're going to then also start gaining a percentage of these assets, or, you know, each year, 14:45 each year you also get that deferred compensation is, Or you can get a, a, a certain degree of shares from the corporation. Right. I had a lovely, his name was, um, he was a Quebecois, um, 14:58 accountant. Mario Demas, he's deceased unfortunately. But he had a wonderful way of putting things in a range. So he said, when your son or daughter is 18, 15:07 give them this percentage of shares five years later, give them another percentage and keep the percentage increasing over time as their experience and skill in business increases. So it wasn't, 15:18 it wasn't unclear Damien. It was very clear and it was very invigorating because any woman or man who comes back to work in a family business, 15:28 if they have skin in the game and actual equity, they're gonna care. Yeah. Yeah. So, uh, okay. So if we're, we're gonna start giving advice, 15:37 and I think that's very important for us to do. I want you to then we said farm family business. I wanna go through each one of 'em. And you give the, 15:45 the what you as a family farm consultant, farm family coach, that's your website, farm family I want you to give us that. Before we do, I want to ask my listeners, 15:58 uh, I assume you keep your fields fertility levels up, right? But if fertility levels are up and the fertility is yet unavailable or goes 16:07 unutilized, you are wasting your money. Loveland products, industry leading bio catalyst products, 16:14 including Titan XC extract and accomplish max release fertility for healthy high-yielding crops. In other words, 16:21 you use these products and they can help you get the fertility into your plants that's already out there in your fields. 16:28 'cause sometimes you've got wasted money on fertility that's not getting into plants. You wanna learn more about this? 16:34 Visit loveland to increase your results. Okay. So first off, you wanna start with the farm, 16:41 the family or the business and then family first. Which one, What do you want me to tell you about the family dynamic? 16:49 Um, more than most industries, we are very, you know, the guy that owns F four Burger Kings probably didn't, uh, you know, wasn't granddad's Burger King franchise probably, but maybe it was. 17:00 So we do tend to have a lot of the family stuff. Uh, my family, uh, situation, uh, had dysfunction and their siblings that fight and yell and, 17:10 you know, thought they, you know, thought there was an overvalue, they had an overvalued perception of what, what my mom's worth was, uh, 17:19 including, including the below average ground. Anyway, these things happen. It happened to me. I've got two brothers who don't talk to me. 17:27 And that's a part of the reason why, how do you keep that from happening? So first of all, seek conflict resolution, Damien, 17:37 as a business risk management strategy. You get to ask for what you need, but you also need to listen what other people need. 17:44 So really conflict on farms and in families is a dance between knowing what people need and being able to meet those needs and not have 17:54 disconnects. And also being able to say, I wish I could fulfill that expectation, but it's not workable. Here are the numbers. 18:01 So financial transparency is the farming business piece of that. When you can say, this is how many families this farm can support. Oh, 18:10 and by the way, the land values keep increasing, but your brother or your sister is not gonna cash this in once it becomes theirs and then up and sell it because it's the vision of this business to keep farming 18:22 for generations. And there's legal tools that you can put in place. Um, Mona Brown, who's a Canadian lawyer, used the term poison pill where you can, 18:31 you know, go back to prorating if, if the land is flipped for economic wellbeing. So the what is the, what is the conflict about? 18:40 The conflict is about people not understanding what the farm business actually needs to be intact and to thrive as a business. 18:49 And also it's around fairness. And I have a whole video on YouTube called Finding Fairness in Farm Transition because fairness to me is helping everyone in the family 19:00 be successful. And that's not making every child economically equal because that's an unattainable dream. 19:08 Yeah. So let's, let's just go ahead and go with that one, because right now there's someone listening to this that either is the kid or is 19:13 the parent right? And saying, oh my God. And you hear it all the time. Uh, junior came back and now junior's my age, 54 years old. Uh, 19:22 I've been here for 30 years, you know, and, and now mom and dad die. I'm supposed to buy out my sister that lives in Chicago and my brother that 19:30 lives in Kansas City and I can't even do. So then, you know, there's a strife and then there's the, 19:36 the sister in Chicago and the brother in Kansas City that say, mom and dad, mom and dad's farm ground's worth two and a half million dollars. You know what, 19:43 that's 800, that's 800 grand my way. I want it. Right? But a farm is not a piece of pie. And I said that on TikTok and 126,000 people responded to that comment 19:55 that you just made. Because we need ground, we need access to land to farm. And it's an, an asset that stays with the farm business. 20:06 And this goes back and reverts back to what we talked about, the balance sheet between what the farm assets are and your personal assets. 20:13 And if all of your assets are in your farm, you have a, a personal financial liquidity problem. You don't have liquidity of income streams. So remember my three key points, 20:26 Damien always are income streams for everybody. First gen, next gen, and the parents. Second huge question is housing. Because housing, 20:36 if you have to leave the farm, homestead is going to cost you something. Where's that money coming from? And then the third part is fairness, 20:45 which is what we're talking about right now, talking about right now. So here's the key question for your listener. 20:49 What does fairness look like to you? Mom, dad, successor, successor, spouse, non-farm siblings? You all need to tell each other what you expect, what you're, 21:04 and why you're asking for what you want. Now some people will say, well, they'll find out when I die. Well, 21:10 that's a perfect recipe for blowing up your family. Oh yeah, Yeah, yeah. Because you haven't explained but that person, and and you hear, 21:16 you hear that all the time, but that person didn't have to deal with it. You know, they're laying there dead. And a cop 21:21 That's cowardly Damien, that's being a Coward. It's, it's cowardly. Yes. Yeah. And also also it's 21:27 Avoiding, like you said, it leaves them a bomb. Well, and it's a time bomb. It goes off. And so I want listeners to understand the best way to 21:37 get clarity of expectations is to bring the family together to a family meeting that you've prepared them for. 21:44 They can't do it themselves because it could just turn into a fighting match, which is what families are terrified of. Mm-Hmm. 21:51 So what you do is you prepare people with a key challenge, audit, a personal profile, private coaching, and then you bring them together. 21:59 So in our case, our coach said, Elaine, your daughter-in-law doesn't wanna live in your house. I said, great, that means I don't have to move. She gets to build the new house. 22:08 And so what you thought was going to be the outcome may have changed. Then we have things like accidents and health issues, Damien Mm-Hmm. 22:17 And that's the other thing that puts people spinning pretty fast into, into a hectic, 22:22 chaotic situation that they could have avoided had they had the power of attorney in place, the healthcare directors in place, 22:30 and they had the talked about whether or not there was gonna be organ donation. There's all kinds of layers of complexity. Agriculture is complex, 22:40 but it doesn't have to be hard if you have a, a facilitator and a process to help you use your team advisors. And in our case, 22:50 our accountant was a fabulous facilitator with Wesley's parents. Mm-Hmm. And we got our succession plan done in six months because my brother, 22:58 my father-in-law's brain was shrinking. And we had to beat time of his cognitive wellness. Mm-Hmm. And I would hope that most people don't have to do that. 23:07 Yeah. So you're, you're, we got a lot of different advice going here. First off is you need an accountant. Secondly, you need an attorney. Thirdly, 23:14 those, those are useless if you don't actually use their professional services to achieve the outcome that you want. And this really comes down to outcome. 23:22 That thing about, well, they'll find out when I die, or I'll just let them fight about, like, like you said, that is cowardly. It is, absolutely. It is, is like, well, I I'm, I'm going to, uh, 23:33 I'm gonna do this and leave an absolute ticking time bomb. And knowing that then that my, the my, 23:39 my children will end up fighting because I didn't address this. Uh, my mom did that exact thing, by the way. Um, cowardly. So here's the other part. 23:48 You talk about income streams, the person that's the, the heir, the, the older one, uh, the, 23:54 The founders, The parent, the founder, whatever it's, or, or probably not. Founders, probably second, third generation, 23:59 whatever they need to then talk about if they're afraid of losing control, uh, they can, they can structure this any way they want. That's the thing. 24:08 It's not like there's, there's the, you are not in charge. You want income as you said. So you're, if you're saying, 24:14 I'm passing off the farm, uh, I'm gonna set it up so that junior gets, uh, a certain percentage each year because they're doing work here, doing work and, 24:22 and also the income. But then the, the succe, the, the prior generation needs income. Right. 24:30 You can set that up a number of ways also. Right? Uh, you could be slowly selling out. You could be slowly gifting and selling part of your assets. And 24:37 I am a big fan of gifts with a warm hand, not a cold one, because you get appreciation and you get to see, um, 24:45 what the next generation will do with that. And plus you don't have to worry about people going and changing a will because you are taking control of it while you are alive. 24:54 Yeah. So you're saying like seeding 1% of the farmland or 1% of the farm business, whatever it is, 25:01 they're seeding a certain percentage of each year to the next generation because then you're, you're doing it so that they, like you said, they're well, 25:09 And, and in Canada we have a, we have a lot of accountants are big fans of estate freezes where the, the parents get preferred shares and the next gen gets growth 25:19 shares. And so again, I am not an accountant and I do not give legal advice, but I can, 25:25 I have a big enough vision of working with over a thousand farm families that there's no one cookie cutter approach for each family. 25:32 And that's why expert advice is, is critical and focusing and executing Damien, because people listening to this are just gonna be overwhelmed. Yeah. 25:43 Where do I start, Elaine? Right. Well, you start with yourself. Do you know what you want? Do you know by when you want this to happen? 25:51 Is your spouse in alignment with you? Because if the spouses are disconnected and their visions are butting head, you're not going anywhere. And so that re might require some counseling, 26:03 some therapy, some facilitation and some more, uh, long conversations with, uh, independent legal advice. I Heard Jolene Brown tell story about that once where you, you know, the, the, 26:15 the farm man, uh, you know, wouldn't, wouldn't go sit down, meet with nobody and just, just stubborn and stupid. Stubborn and stupid. 26:23 Let's admit it stupid. He's not even just cowardly, irresponsible, stupid. And, and instead of addressing this stormed off and went outside and like stood 26:33 around by the grain bin and pretended he was working, he was too busy to address this, this thing happens all the time. The poor wife. Think about the turmoil you're creating for your spouse and, 26:43 and your offspring when you, so you think you're proving something when all you're really doing is just creating pure dysfunction by not addressing. 26:52 But, but, but I don't know the rest of the story that Jolene told, and she's a good friend of mine. But what, 26:57 what I would advise is that woman meets, meets her lawyer independently, draws up her will, gets all of her affairs in order, 27:05 and curiosity will bring the cat to the table and saying, oh, you've been making plans. Absolutely, Charlie Mm-Hmm. 27:12 Because I get to write my will independently of yours and I'm not going to let this be in chaos anymore. And so the, 27:21 there's so many other avenues. There's also fear around divorce Damien, that we haven't talked about in marriage contracts. 27:29 I was with a group recently and they were, these were lenders and they had never heard the term marriage contract. And I said, seriously, 27:37 because you'll get into marriages down the road that didn't have a prenup to protect assets. 27:42 And a marriage contract can be drawn up at whatever point in the marriage, uh, particularly if the farm has grown. 27:48 And we all know what the value of land in Iowa has done, or Minnesota or Indiana. So, you know, 27:54 we need to pay attention that this is a journey. This is not Roundup. I know you said you could look outside and see weeds in the field and you wanna 28:02 get rid of those wild oats bey bang. You do it and, and you, you have a solution. 28:07 But farmers need to become toward people to move towards outcomes that they actually can impact and stop taking the easy 28:17 and stubborn way out by not doing anything. I like the fact that you said, uh, there's a thousand different groups you've worked with, 28:24 families you've worked with. There's a thousand different methods. It's not, and it's the thing. It can be, it can be different. And, and, 28:32 and it's not nearly as difficult as I think that, uh, folks would want. Your situation, going back to your situation, 28:39 you began transitioning some assets to your kid and then he does get a salary. 28:47 But then also you obviously are in your sixties and your husband, you need income still. So right now, where are things, 28:54 is it that you're still involved not as much with the farm as you were say, 10 years ago? So is it a split or does he pay you, 29:03 or how does that work? No, in our case, it was the transfer of equity, Damien. So my husband was the president of Boys Vein Select Seeds, 29:12 and he is paid out six figures every year for the next 20 years because my son has bought and his wife have bought that particular seed business 29:22 corporation from, from Wes. Mm-Hmm. And in my case, for family living, my work as a professional speaker, writer, and farm coach for over three decades has been the family living line for 29:35 our farm. Right. So my off-farm income has put groceries on the table. And, and again, that's the other problem we have in agriculture. 29:44 I have a young woman whose income was in seven figures, and her father-in-Law had absolutely no idea the value of her energy, time and resources that went towards the wellbeing of the family, 29:58 which is why I'm also a big proponent of financial transparency, privately personal and business. 30:06 So that when you're laying all your cards on the table, you're very clear about what the resources are that you have for each family unit and you celebrate that. Mm-Hmm. You don't judge that. 30:17 You celebrate the fact that man, you're working hard. Yes. But we have a lot of women on the agriculture who are on Facebook who are 30:25 ranting with anger and frustration because their needs are not being met. And vice versa for the men as well, burnout. 30:33 I'm talked to a young farm woman yesterday whose husband has his best friend in the mental health psych ward right now, 30:40 which is a really good thing because he is getting treated for burnout. But the whole depression and suicide ideation of farmers, 30:48 because if you let all of this complicated angst and stuff build up inside of you, it's going to make you sick. Mm-Hmm. 30:57 And money cannot make you. Well, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, your wealth is in your health, 31:05 so let's be really clear about what's important to you as a family and keep working in that direction. 31:10 So let's go to that one. Uh, um, we're getting, you know, we're wrapped up here, uh, not too long. We talked about what's your vision? Is it that, 31:19 is that thing that they have a vision, but then again, they go and tell their buddies at the coffee shop instead of actually doing it? Or is do they have no vision? Because if I, and I don't have children, uh, 31:30 if I had a, you know, children, and, and I'd say in that same example, you know, fair is equal and equal is fair, but not necessarily, like you say, 31:39 because my God, if you're, if you're talking about 4% margins, you know, on agriculture or some very low, high capital low margin business, and you need that capital, 31:51 you need that land or the grain bin setups or whatever. Again, that's different than just a million dollars in a mutual fund that you sell the 31:58 mutual fund, give the, you know, give the kid in Kansas City their, Well, it's, it's called the Farm Financial Liquidity Solution. So I work with a, 32:06 a company that sponsors my work called 33 It doesn't work in the US but your Canadian listeners can check it out. And these are highly, um, boutique financial. 32:19 So solutions for, um, farms, which are all many farms are high net worth and putting them into the cascading of wealth and a tax free zone and all those other good 32:31 tactical things. But I don't work in tactics, Damien, I'm at the top of the funnel where I want to bring the family together because talk does not cook rice. Mm-Hmm. You have to act, 32:44 but you can't read mind. So it's just critical that you share your intent. Other people can give you feedback and then together, collaboratively in a safe, 32:54 respectful manner, you can make decisions for the wellbeing of all. And that is the coaching process. And, 33:02 and I'm also finding that some people go to therapy first to get rid of some of the emotional baggage they're bringing to the table so that when I show up as 33:11 the coach, they are ready to express and ask for what they need and to explain why. 33:17 Is that where it starts with you, you sit down with 'em and say, all right, let's talk about what you want. And that then creates the vision because maybe 33:24 They, they Right, right. But have you asked a farmer lately what he wants or she wants? And, 33:32 and what she wants is respect and a voice at the table and the ability to be the next successor on the farm, even though she's female. I, 33:40 I was with Grain Farmers of Ontario with their women's leadership last year, and these women are smart. They're agronomists, 33:47 they're managing multimillion dollar accounts at work, and yet they can't get traction in their own families. Yeah. So again, it's that conflict resolution piece. 33:58 Being clear is kind and finding a solution that works for everybody at the table by creating solutions, expressing emotions, reaching out, adapting, 34:09 and understanding that, uh, someone's perspective may be different than yours. Different is not wrong, it's just different. 34:18 So you sit down with 'em and you start asking 'em what they want and then, and, and it probably is a discovery, 34:23 and then probably there's some surprises and then you can help them paint the vision. And then did they, did they take your, do you say, 34:30 now let's get an accountant? Well, we don't really have an accountant. Or do you say like, you know, do you say, well, 34:35 I, I, I'm a member of the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors and have been since it was charted way back in the late nineties. And I, 34:44 I am encouraging farm families to use really good accountants, lawyers, coaches, but more than that, financial planners. 34:53 'cause that's the income stream piece. So you build your team of advisors and if you don't like who you're being served by, then you get a new one. Yeah. 35:01 Because I'm also helping my farm clients find new accountants and new lawyers. Lawyers retire eventually. Right. Accountants do as well. Yeah. 35:10 So you need to have good advice and you need to have good chemistry with the people who are helping you navigate all of these interesting 35:20 complexities in agriculture. How Many, how many, uh, farm, farm, family, farm businesses, structures end up having a volatile, uh, 35:31 I'd say it's the majority have a volatile dis or, or dysfunctional or blow up. I'd say the majority do. And it's, and it, and it absolutely should be preventable. 35:43 Am I right about that? I don't know the stats on, um, time bomb fathers, but there is a book by, by, uh, Dr. Steven Poulter called The Father Factor, 35:53 which an accounting friend of mine says is his most favorite book next to the Bible, Damien. So it's pretty important to him, five kinds of father, 36:02 and one of them is compassionate mentor, compassionate mentors only make up 20% of what he considers, uh, the fatherhood model. 36:11 There's time bomb fathers and passive aggressive fathers. And I, and I don't remember the other two, but there's five different styles. 36:18 But in my work, when I ask people at the end of a coaching call, what's the most valuable thing they say, Elaine, it feels so good to talk. 36:27 It feels so good to have someone understand what I'm thinking, feeling, needing, and wanting. And it feels so good to know what is our best next step. 36:37 So it's a journey, Damien, and for families who are going through hard times, do they want to be reconciled? 36:46 Lance Woodbury put out two articles in the work that he's done. One of them is called The Rules of Estrangement, which is a book, 36:52 and another one is called The Fault Lines. So do you choose to, to make quick repair in your family and create a better culture In my family? 37:01 Yes. Yeah. We, we believe aligned. We make, we behave well with each other. We have five guys that I fed last night out in the cornfield, 37:10 and we also make decisions collaboratively. And in that kind of environment, you're gonna thrive and have a really rock and roll farm. 37:18 But if you keep procrastinating and say, well, this will just fix itself. It's not going to, 37:23 By the way, you have another sibling, right. Or another child besides the son. Yes. I have a daughter who has a, um, a disability and uh, 37:31 we have a trust and a financial planner set up for her and a trustee, and she knows what our will says. And she will be having, um, 37:41 an income stream that protects her, um, ongoing once we pass. Yes. So my children, my children will never, ever be financially equal, 37:52 and that doesn't mean that it's not fair. They're both happy and successful in their own right, but their lives are extremely different. 38:01 So, and the old thing about the cobbler's kids have no shoes. You, you are not the, you're not the coach that also didn't handle it yourself. 38:09 You did handle it on your own home front. And, and, and it's your belief that you've got the right vision and that you will, it will be harmonious when you are dead and gone. 38:18 Well, and it's harmonious now, which is even better. Why, why put things off till tomorrow, right? Yeah. 38:25 Well that's exactly what that is. The whole subject, that was the whole theme of this topic was why put till tomorrow? You know, what's interesting is you said about the mental health issue in agriculture is 38:33 huge. Uh, there's a lot of, it seems to me this is one of the factors just take care of Absolutely. Just take care of, you know, it's like, it's like popping the, the popping, 38:42 the blister. It's like, uh, you know, wouldn't it, instead of this angst and this effort, it's The pain of not knowing Damien. I call it the pain of not knowing. 38:53 And in Proverbs it says, the heart, um, hope deferred makes the heart sick. And that's what young farmers are up again, 39:00 they're sick with not knowing when they can get equity. They're sick with not knowing that they're not being paid well enough. And the parents are sick because they have not drawn courage and taken 39:11 the bull by the horns to have hard conversations. But you don't have to do this alone. There are people to help you have those courageous conversations to get 39:22 what everyone in the family needs and desires. I think we're gonna leave it right there. That's the point. You don't have to do this alone. There are, and, and, okay, well, 39:31 they're gonna charge me. So what, you know, what if you could alleviate this pain and this anxiety, and like you said, the pain of not knowing for everybody involved, spouse, 39:42 kid in-laws or, And your banker sometimes call the bankers would love to know too. What's your plan 39:49 Know too? Yeah. What the hell's the vision? Anyway, her name is Elaine Fra. It is, it's, uh, it's, well, she's Canadian. 39:55 That's not why she spells it this way, but it's F-R-O-E-S-E phrase, her website's, farm family She's awesome. Uh, 40:03 we're gonna have her on again another year because I think this is a topic that every, uh, we can probably cover a lot more different nuances and angles on. 40:12 Thanks for being here. Great to see you Damien. And folks, remember, talk does not cook rice. Get out there and get her done. 40:20 Yeah. Get it actually handled. Get it actually handled till next time. Share this with somebody that you know, that can benefit from this is, again, 40:28 a topic that every farm, family business unit needs to have. And you know what, growing corn's cool, but, uh, it's a business. 40:36 And businesses handle things like their transition and the succession plan and the payments and the income streams. 40:43 All those things are very normal business things. So take, uh, the bull by the whole horns, as Elaine says, share this, uh, with somebody. 40:50 I can benefit from it. And remember also, there's hundreds and hundreds of these videos. I've, I've produced hundreds of these Cutting the Curve podcasts and also videos in 40:56 the field with the guys that you can use all free Extreme So next time, thanks for being here. I'm Damien Mace. 41:02 That's a wrap for this episode of Cutting the Curve, but there's plenty more. Check out Extreme Ag Farm where you can find past episodes, 41:10 instructional videos and articles to help you squeeze more profit outta your farm. Cutting the curve is brought to you by Advanced Drainage Systems, 41:20 the leader in agriculture, water management solutions.