How to Handle Family Dynamics on the Farm

Anytime you’re in business with family there will be challenges. That’s why it’s important farmers remember which “hat” they’re wearing, says Davon Cook of Ag Progress. 

“You have three hats you wear in a family business: owner, family member and employee,” he says. “When having discussions, identify what hat you’re wearing first.“

For example, if you’re the operation manager talking to your son about a mistake he made on the farm, start the conversation by saying, “I’m talking to you today as your manager not your father.”

In addition, make sure every family member–employee understands their roles and responsibilities. Well-defined roles can help set up family-employees for success or help them understand disciplinary action when needed.

“A best practice is to write down employment guidelines,” Cooks adds. “Also identify the interview process, who the hiring managers are and how employees, family or not, will be managed and compensated.”