Farming's In-Law Factor
The Impact of In-Laws on Family Farms
Conflicts and differences of opinion between partners can happen in any type of business. But what if those business partners are also your in-laws?
There are definitely some unique challenges when family and farm business blends. Here are just a few
- New spouses having to adapt to farming culture (especially when they're from urban settings)
- Farm founders struggling to share decision-making and control of management
- New ideas can seem threatening to "tried and true" ideas, which are deeply rooted in identity
Meeting these challenges requires us to embrace the differences and diversity—seeing them as benefits rather than burdens. It requires understanding what each person on the family farm team needs... whether that's respect for their experience, a listening ear for their new ideas, or simply better communication.
In this presentation, you'll explore key issues for each of the players on the farm team:
- The daughter in-law (DIL)— the things that cause friction
- The mother in-law (MIL)— roles she wants and doesn’t want
- The son-in-law (SIL) — joined to the farm’s successor, going from employee to shareholder
- The father-in-law (FIL)— sources of tension, ways to let go and share decision-making
- How to make diversity on your farm a benefit, instead of a risk
- Understanding how family systems and business systems work
- Understanding the culture of agriculture (a great primer for urban folks and new farm spouses!)
- Strategies for better conflict resolutio
- What to do when things aren't working out
- Guidelines for behaving well... even when those around you aren’t
Every farm team wants harmony on their family farm and this is the presentation to help you get it!
Elaine knows how to help the farmers’ soul. Whether it needs cleansing, boosting, loving or some direction, she is definitely the one to call.
As I mentioned, your talk was inspiring, and gave me hope that there is a way to get along with family in business and have both the business and family be successful.
As for the impact we gleaned from your presentation… There needs to be clarity and understanding of yourself and others, along with where you are today, where you’re headed and where you want to be, in order to move ahead. This requires openness, honesty and respect, and the willingness to listen, and appreciate both the past (tradition), the now (the new) and the future (the unknown).
What really hit home for me is the lack of expressing appreciation for one another or recognition of a situation and an attempt to discuss it, or try to resolve. When you advised each generation, or in-laws, etc. to write a letter to the other for Christmas - that was really powerful. Discussing the undiscussabull not in terms of a conflict situation, but rather, when we forget to show appreciation for one another – our similarities and differences. This was a new spin on the message.