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Farm transition rut? How to turn roadblocks into building blocks

Reference: FCC

If you’ve fallen into a farm transition rut, know there are ways out.

FCC Business Advisor Patti Durand and Maggie Van Camp, BDO National Agricultural Practice Development Leader spoke to farmers Lesley Kelly and Colin Penner about transforming transition roadblocks into building blocks at an FCC virtual event.

Stuck in silence

Communication wasn’t a strong suit in her family, Kelly admitted.

That became clear after her dad Garnet got transition planning of his Evergreen Woodcreek Farms in Saskatchewan underway.

“We thought we were good communicators, but that wasn’t the case when we started to sit down and talk about where we wanted the farm to go and what that looked like.”

Instead of getting stuck with conversations going nowhere, the family focused on improved conversations. Kelly, who now farms with her husband Matt and brother Derek, says some of the changes the family made to improve communications include:

  • Make a scheduled time to sit down and talk. It could be an hour once a week or 15 minutes each day but commit to it.
  • Establish an agenda. Determine what needs to be discussed.
  • Perform relationship maintenance repairs. “Just like how we fix equipment, the same goes for our relationships,” Kelly says. “It’s making those small fixes, tweaks and repairs that help maintain strong relationships.”
Too stressed out
Kelly says family members keep communication open and mental health in check by looking after stress levels together.

The family takes the time to share their stress levels, from a low of one to a high of ten. The specific times for sharing vary throughout the year, depending on what’s happening at the farm. In the quieter winter months, check-ins may be once a week, and during busier times like seeding or harvest, check-ins tend to be once a day.

It’s all about creating self-awareness and taking away the power of stress. By sharing and recognizing where everyone’s stress levels are and emphasizing team support and back-up during hectic and demanding times, stress loses its control... Read More