The North Bend Eagle


Corn growers told to have line of succession

by Stephanie Iwan Flamme
Published 9/2/15

University of Nebraska professor Ron Hanson spoke to the Colfax-Dodge County Corn Growers Association on Aug. 25 at the Nick and Amy Emanuel farm about keeping farms in the family for the next farming generation.

The Emanuel family hosted the annual corn growers meeting, which was attended by Gov. Pete Ricketts, center.

He urged the 200-plus corn growers in attendance to have an ownership succession plan.

“Passing ownership is one issue and passing control is another,” Hanson said. “This is the greatest challenge now facing agriculture.

“Nebraska’s greatest resource is farm families. Farmers need a plan in place to protect their farms.”

He further explained the many obstacles that hinder rural families from passing on their farms.

“It’s an emotional issue to discuss, and a hard thought to give up control, plus admitting that someday you will die is difficult,” Hanson said.

Farmers may worry that the next generation may screw up their hard work or even lose or sell the farm. They also worry that a non-family member such as a “daughter-in-law” may get part of the farm or estate.

“Another huge concern is who will take care of me in my later years if I turn over the farm,” Hanson said.

According to Hanson, money and property put family values to the test, especially when owners are worried about who will end up with the family farm.

“The biggest challenge in family succession planning is communication,” Hanson said, “If parents have a vision or dream about the family farm, they need to share it with their children.

Dan Wesely, a Morse Bluff farmer and vice president of the Nebraska State Corn Growers Association, saw wisdom in Hanson’s words.

“You don’t want to work for something all your life and then lose it or not have your farm given to all your family fairly,” Wesely said. “You need to communicate ten times over as Dr. Hanson recommended. That way you may keep peace in the family now and hopefully in the future when you are gone.”

Hason said to remember what is really important.

“Farms can be replaced,” he said, “but families can not. It’s not an issue about family love. All children share in the estate.”

Jordan Emanuel, who has been president of the Colfax-Dodge County Corn Growers Association since January, selected Hanson to speak because he felt that the topic would provide good insight for farm families.

“To communicate and have a conversation with parents about what should happen if the big ‘What If?’ happens is really important,” Emanuel said. He has been farming with his father Tom for four years.

Nick and Amy Emanuel with Chuck and Sue Emanuel hosted the meeting of the Colfax-Dodge County Corn Growers Association. Chuck Emanuel is treasurer for the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. Other special guests in attendance were Governor Pete Ricketts and State Senator Dave Schnoor.

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