Change can be difficult.
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Dennis Metz admits it. He was resistant to some of the changes his sons wanted to make on the family’s dairy and crop farm near Wellington, Kansas.
In the late 1990s, Metz was growing crops and milking cows two times a day and thought it was a tried and true way of running a dairy farm. His sons, Dan and Jay came home from college and wanted to try milking three times a day – and to grow cotton – not a crop typically associated with Kansas, especially then. Thinking about how much time and money had been spent on his sons’ education and about how he’d watched other family members struggle as one generation took over the business from another, Dennis relented. The family not only milked three times a day successfully for years until they left the dairy business, but also started growing cotton, which they still do today, along with other crops. Dan and Jay have taken over the day-to-day operations of the farm with their dad’s blessing and support.
The day sons or daughters announce they’d like to take over the family farm or ranch can be a proud one, but can also be fraught with communication challenges, legal pitfalls and differing expectations.