Home Support system Dispute resolution in the family business starts with you

Dispute resolution in the family business starts with you


Multigenerational farming and animal husbandry – it really is such a gift. Work alongside the family. Having that support system. Lend a helping hand. Living together the seasons of life. Building dreams and growing the business that was started by previous generations.

Yes, it’s a blessing, until it’s not.

During my travels to speak across the country at agricultural events, I’m often very real and raw about the ups and downs of life and work in production agriculture. I know the realities of this myself, and in conversations with participants, I quickly discovered that my family is not the only one with challenges that arise over the years.

For some, the pitfalls are minor. For other families, the difficulties are nuclear.

No matter where your family falls on this spectrum, there is always room for improvement in order to strengthen the functionality of the business as well as your relationships with loved ones.

We all have good intentions, don’t we? We don’t want to be a statistic. We want to be the outlier. We want to be the family that enjoys each other’s company in our free time and enjoys working side by side on the ranch.

I’m blessed with a great working relationship with my parents, but I’m not naïve to think that it will always be harmonious without constant effort and respect from all parties.

We’re not at the transition stage of the ranch yet either, but I pay close attention when I have the opportunity to listen in turn to estate planners and experts at conferences. I always try to bring home the best advice to our family business.

As we reflect on this transitional stage and all the potential pitfalls, I am careful not to fall into this easy trap you may have found yourself in.

Did you ever talk about the other generation?

“If only they could…”

If only they did this, or said that, or planned it that way, or did it my way?

This applies to all working generations involved in the business. Let’s be honest. It is easy to criticize and criticize the other party. THEY should do things that way, and all our problems would be solved. If only THEY changed their ways, it would be so much easier.

You had the idea.

Have you ever been guilty of thinking or saying this phrase?

I know I have. And you know what I did? I cannot control or change behaviors, habits or results of a situation beyond my control. Instead of pointing fingers, I have to turn things around on myself. I need to consider all points of view in every business situation. And I have to ask myself, “What can I do to positively address this family business problem?” »

But I can listen carefully. I can try to understand. I can clearly communicate my ideas, values, suggestions and questions. Then, once both parties have declared their play, I can control my response. I can control my behavior. And I can control things at home – in my own house, with my own family and my own wallet.

Don’t let overly optimistic wishful thinking about a certain outcome on the ranch cloud your judgment and determine the course of action for your financial future. Instead, understand what other family members are communicating to you, then regularly decide on the next course of action for you.

We don’t have to sacrifice our relationships with our loved ones to ensure the success of the farm and ranch. However, if we want to enjoy our family and build our businesses, it starts with us. We absolutely can chart a positive course for our family farms and ranches, if only we try.

Amanda Radke’s opinions are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.