Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Farming in the 'Burbs

We met a farmer and his wife who are farming in the 'burbs, the suburbs that is. In 36 years they have seen their city neighbors literally move in with them. Well, at least they have moved next door.

When they bought the farm from his parents in 1974 it took less than a month to make the transaction. Now they are trying to do the same with their son and it is already over a year and the transaction is not complete.

Why? The short answer is legal complexities. Nothing is simple anymore, it is rare to do business on a hand shake like we did in those days.

I feel the couple's frustration. Everything is so darned complicated. Too many laws from too many lawyers which all stems from greed and a lack of trust. As Father Corapi says what is needed is trust.

Is it a sign of the times? Oh, you know it is! Even the spray records on a modern farm is part to full time job, let alone the myriad of other records we keep and use.

Is there an easy answer? No. They could sell the farm to the son outright but the taxes would probably eat up both estates. Farm business gone or highly financially threated.

Many farm publications have tried to address this issue. One is Farm Journal magazine and I get there Legacy emails regularly that show the complexity of farm transferral. It is not an easy job if you want to protect the assets of the business that were painstainingly earned. Or poof and they are gone in a heartbeat.

Why can't life be simpler? It looks like it is going to get a whole lot more complex before reason and simplicity comes home.

Ed

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