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October for farmers is a “get ‘er done” kind of season where fall work is pressing, late-season crops are harvested, cattle are moved, and the list goes on. Last March, when the Great Pause hit us, we were advised: “not to waste a good crisis.” So, on top of the routine things that we manage, we have a lot of emotional roller coasters to navigate as well. If talking about your farm transition plan seems like yet another emotional burden you’d rather not deal with, I’m here to help you ‘get unstuck.’

[Tweet “The reward of #farm #transitionplanning is worth the journey! In my latest blog post, I’m sharing tips on how you can GET UNSTUCK and move forward in your #succession plan:”]

Dealing with the Emotional Factor

Gratitude is a great tool for resilience. The ability to count our current blessings and reflect on the things we cherish in life gives us good energy. I love singing the song “Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart.” As I write this, we are thankful that we can gather in our community of faith and build each other up weekly.

Since March, I have heard from many farm families who are desperate for tools to have better communication and understanding about the certainty of their future. The problem with the pandemic is being able to live with high degrees of uncertainty and not knowing. When things are so uncertain, working on your farm transition plan can sometimes be the last thing you want to think about.

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Some podcast experts suggest 2020 fuels “ambiguous loss” and “anticipatory loss.” We never know what may be lost next.  I experienced this when I was watching my father’s health decline with Alzheimer’s. Anticipatory loss is borrowing worry for what the future is going to look like. This is not a helpful emotion, and it may be freezing your family into inaction rather than motivating change.

Back in 2016, Dr. Megan McKenzie and I spent a year of Tuesdays with many flipcharts on the floor, creating the online course Get Your Farm Transition Unstuck. We believe emotional factors are blocking the farm family’s ability to create positive change. Moving forward with your farm transition plan is a matter of first getting ‘unstuck.’

What Is Stuck?

Stuck is a place where you didn’t anticipate ending up—being somewhere else when you’d rather be doing what you had originally planned, though you should be doing, or need to be doing. You’ve been forced to admit things aren’t going well. You need to deal with the frustration, anger, helplessness, blame, and surprise.

Now it’s time to figure out a plan to get out. If you are going to get where you want to go, you’re going to have to take the time, put in the effort, and find resources to get unstuck.

When the tractor is stuck, you call for help if it is really messy. Today, in the digital reality of doing business, medical appointments, and learning online, you have a new way of getting your farm transition plan back into gear.

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Getting Unstuck in Your Farm Transition Plan

Succession transition planning is not a one-time event; it is a journey. This year of challenges has magnified the pre-existing tension and issues that farm families are trying to navigate. They need facilitated communication to talk about tough issues. They need safety and respect as they are vulnerable when they describe the life they have always wanted but are not currently experiencing. Smart families enlist expert farm transition plan advisors who are happy to sit with deep emotion and unravel the blocks with questions like:

  • Where do you want to get to? What’s the vision for the family and the farm?
  • What barriers are keeping you stuck? How would you like to ideally deal with them?
  • What needs to be nurtured with pro-active actions and creative solutions? I usually find that income streams, residence needs, and fairness to non-farm heirs are the big questions seeking answers.
  • How can you find a practical path to your end goal—an action plan?

Farmers tell me often that they are too busy to plan and find the transition planning process too overwhelming. They know they need to create more certainty for their futures, but the year flies by, and before they know it, nothing for transfer of labour, management, or ownership has been done.

The Role of Communication 

Worry is not useful. Stressing and worrying without action depletes people. Communication is the first step in taking action and moving forward.

Transition communication takes courage and is doable. Imagine how good it is going to feel when you have agreements signed, open communication, and understanding of what everyone on your farm team is thinking, feeling, needing, and wanting.  The reward of transition planning is worth the journey.

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As a farm family coach, I am working with BDO to help families breakthrough their communication barriers and find ways to create workable plans. Once the family is clear about what everyone wants and why the foundation for a great farm transition plan is created. Due to social distancing and protocols, lawyers are now able to have visits with you on Zoom, Facetime, the phone, and have documents signed with digital witnessing. So, you can update your will from the comfort and privacy of your farmhouse!

We can also build a succession farm transition plan with you over computer visits. When I do Zoom calls with the family, I meet with each couple privately first. The next step is a family meeting. At that meeting, I type notes on my shared screen while we get input from all family members on the call. I also record the coaching sessions, and folks can have the recordings to playback to recall their next action steps.

Making decisions about the legacy of the farm requires everyone to act as emotionally mature adults. Sometimes we need to do some pre-work around communication styles and conflict dynamic profiles to help folks understand their strong habits and the not-helpful triggers.

I have not been on a plane for over six months, so I am available to help you get unstuck. The Get Unstuck course is online. You can explore possibilities with me on a short discovery call, so go to www.elainefroese.com/contact and tell me what you need. The team of transition experts that I am connected with will help you build your farm transition plan with individual interviews.

We’re in a messy middle of life right now. Count your blessings, and take the first steps to stop worrying about the pain of not knowing. Let me help you find harmony in understanding. Be grateful.

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.

$15

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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+1-204-534-7466 | elaine(at)elainefroese.com

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