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Spring 2003 - Family

Destination Purdue > Spring 2003 - Family

All in the family

By Luke Morgan

Passing on the family farm to children can sometimes be difficult. Conflicting personalities and opinions may cause tension between family members.

This year marked the 23rd annual Farming Together workshop, which is held every year at the end of January. Alan Miller, a farm business management specialist, said this year there were 44 participants representing 15 different farm operations.

Richard and Carol Kohlhagen of Adams County attended the workshop a few years ago and had an eye-opening experience. "We attended the workshop to help us with many issues that our farming operation was facing," Carol said. "We had one son wanting to return to the farm to work full-time. Also, Richard's brother, a partner in the operation, had passed away, and we were dealing with dividing the farm with his sister-in-law and estate matters. We also have six children, ages 17 to 28, and were trying to develop a succession plan.

Carol said the most important thing she learned from the workshop was communication and a long- term vision of their farm. To do this they filled out a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is a test to indicate what type of personality one has.

"At the beginning of this session, we did not think this was going to be worth the time to do this," Carol said. "However, it became a highlight of the workshop and was so valuable in learning each other's type of personality. This also helped us in relating to each other, knowing each other's strengths and preferences. Even though we have been married for 30 years, this has helped us tremendously in working together on the farm with everything from organization to the business decisions we make," she said.