“We all knew the farm would go to the boys. We were born in the ‘30’s and everyone expected Dad and Mom to roll it over to their sons. We were given educations, no land.”

“We wondered why my sister and I were not part of the family discussion about who would have the home place. It really hurt. Dad couldn’t understand why I was crying when we talked about it later.”

“The girls in our family all married well. I guess our parents felt we were well taken care of. My brothers got all the dairy quota and the farm. We girls got $10,000. I’m not sure my lawyer today would think that was fair!”

“Out here in dry land Saskatchewan we  wonder if we’re lucky we got cash and we are not stuck with the risk of the farm !”

“We sisters each got one quarter of  land before our parents died, even though we don’t farm. It was part of how our parents defined fairness, as all the siblings always got the same dollar support.  Our farming brother was able to buy land from us and we  gladly held the mortgage.”

“In our family we don’t fight about any inheritance, because our parents have nothing. It’s great. We all get along and we have fun together. The girls have good educations and can make their own way.”

“Dad taught us all how to be skilled on the farm. We had no brothers! He treated us with respect and I think it makes him happy to see one daughter actively farming with her husband and our father.”

As a farm family business coach, I haven’t found much written about the ways girls are treated in succession planning, but I have had lots of vibrant conversations. The culture around the will and estate expectations has changed significantly since the l930’s.

Today, adult children are not happy with the “Nobody Asked Me Syndrome”. This is  where families keep their decision making a big secret, and only the farming adults are involved in conversations about the future of the farm business.

I don’t know the stats on how many people read their wills aloud to their children, but I do know that one in 5 Ontario farmers didn’t bother having a will according to a survey a few years ago. Today, people are encouraged to discuss estate plans openly.

Each family has to come to terms with what works for them. But my drive to write this column comes from the common theme that exiting farmers are asking :  “how do we treat the girls?”

So girls, gals, women, ladies! What are your expectations?

“We want our parents to enjoy their hard earned finances during their retirement and aging years. We  want mom and dad to have some fun  for a change!”

“We expect good health care in place for Mom and Dad, so we want to make sure there is money available to have them cared for. I don’t want to be the primary care-giver for my parents, I have a husband and children to look after already!”

“I accept anything my parents choose to give me as a bonus. They have already helped me get a university education and raised me in a loving happy home. I am proud to make my own way and will finance my own dreams.”

“I’m glad to know that the BANK OF DAD is still open, but realistically, I need to build up my credit rating in registered institutions. Its nice knowing there is some financial support available from my parents if a crisis hits, but I need to do things on my own.”

“I’m the daughter who got the farm. Some days with the tight cash flow I don’t know if that is a blessing. The investment cash my sisters got looks pretty good right now.”

Every family has unique challenges and goals. In most cases, it is the farming sons that take over the family farm. Each family needs to talk about what their needs, feelings and wants are for the next generation of farmers.  Avoid the “nobody asked me syndrome” and have a full conversation with the entire family group .

I am reminded of an Old Byzantine Proverb that seems to apply here:

“He who has bread has many problems. He who has no bread has only one problem.”

Let me know the creative ways you come up with to treat everyone well in your succession process.

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.


Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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