Blogs

“Elaine, we started talking about this in 2014, and man, that was seven years ago,” quips the overwhelmed founder of a 5th generation farm. We need to get this done before seeding.” Where is it written that you cannot have conversations from the tractor while you are on auto-steer?

Procrastination is killing agriculture.

You didn’t get all your plans in order this winter, so now it needs to wait until November?

NO!

We focus and execute on the important things every day. Small consistent actions can lead to big and happy changes. It’s time for another mindset shift in your planning journey. Transition planning is a journey that ends when you die. It’s a myriad of plans for communication, lifestyle, ownership, risk management, estate, debt, and the business vision. You decide which plan you want to focus on and just keep taking the next step.

Even when you have made all the plans possible and think you have the transition journey in a good place, you need to have an outside advisor double-check your approach. Recently a forlorn founder emailed me to describe her worst nightmare. A sudden death of the patriarch unraveled the well-thought-out transition plan when the greedy sibling whisked the widow to another province and started changing the debt-forgiveness in the will and began charging rent to the successor. I have permission to share this story because the underlying theme is the risk was not averted because assets were not transferred with a warm hand. The patriarch also did not sign all the documents as promised.

Another death, but a happier outcome. The Springford family from Nanoose Bay, Vancouver Island has a multi-generational plan and is grateful for the myriad of advisors who have helped them sign agreements. Founder Colin had his son Ross accept the transfer of the chicken quota in mid-January, a few days later Colin’s heart attack landed him in hospital in Victoria, and then he was sent home. While out walking the dog, Colin phoned Ross to ensure that “he understood everything that he was supposed to do to carry on the farm. Ross said, “Yes Dad, we are good, everything is in place.” A few minutes later Colin breathed his last in the house farm entrance as he took off his boots. He was 75. Ross sent me a legacy photo of Colin shaking his hand along with Erin, Ross’s spouse, and Diane, Ross’s mom in front of the Springford Market, their direct food market. The chickens had been Ross’s idea to create more viability for their beef operation and Colin was open to new diversity, along with the market. Ross’s sister was also part of the transition discussion. Although the family and community miss Colin terribly, they take great comfort in knowing all the transition timelines and goals are being met. A story of family loss, but a great gain for certainty of the loved ones’ future. This is the healing story for agriculture that I want you to experience.

So how do you create a sense of urgency?

  1. You share your needs and intentions. No one knows what you are thinking, feeling, needing, or wanting unless you tell them, and ask them to confirm their understanding.
  2. You craft more powerful questions. Ask “What if ?” and compare your answers to various scenarios.
  3. You book time on your calendar with your advisors. Update your will and the power of attorney. Seek out a financial planner to create a plan for secure income streams. I know I have enough money until I am 102!
  4. Put together a planning binder so you can chunk down each of the key plans: communication (family meetings), lifestyle plan (financial planner), legal, accounting, insurance, business plan, etc. Email me for binder tabs.
  5. Use the timer on your phone or an old-fashioned noisy kitchen timer. Italians call it a “Pomodoro” (Italian for tomato) as their timers looked like tomatoes. Set the timer for 25 minutes and make calls, organize papers, block out time for meetings, etc. 25 minutes and make calls, organize papers, block out time for meetings, etc. Momentum creates more momentum to get things done. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.
  6. Celebrate the wins.
  7. Make time, block time. Before the “Great Pause” a funeral was a large gathering to pay respects to the family and celebrate the life of the deceased. We would clear our calendar and go to be with the family. Today, funerals are small private events, or not happening at all. We all make time for what is truly important in our lives.
  8. Ask this question to set up deadlines, “By when will you set the date for ….(fill in the blank). The transition journey is a jigsaw puzzle of pieces that require accountability, persistence, and someone to drive the process to ensure things get done.

Don’t let a health crisis be the motivator for change. Be proactive, not reactive. You can do this.

Tell me what you have done and I’ll send you a free ebook. Talk does not cook rice. Act!


Elaine Froese is a Manitoba 150 Woman Trailblazer. She is passionate to guide farm families to find harmony through understanding. Her mission is for you to have rich relationships on your farm. Visit www.elainefroese.com. Book her to speak at www.arlanacademy.com

Shut down” Insights to get folks to the transition table to talk
Planning Your Legacy: The “Life” Binder and the “Ultimate Fruitcake
Succession Planning: One of the Biggest Hurdles for Ranchers

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

Book Elaine
for your next event

Contact Elaine to start the conversation.

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

Contact Elaine