I was glad to make the trip to Champaign-Urbana last week to see a very talented public speaker.
Dr. Ron Hanson, a professor of agribusiness emeritus with University of Nebraska-Lincoln, addressed a group of farmers and ag professionals and the local Elks Lodge. Hanson is a nationally-recognized expert on the subject of positive communication within a multi-generational family farm business. He is a highly sought after speaker and appeared in Fairbury at an event hosted by the Livingston County Farm Bureau Young Leaders a few years ago.
“For those of you that have family farms here in Illinois, I’d trade places with you in a second,” Hanson told the crowd.
A conflict between Hanson’s parents and grandparents destroyed his family and prevented him from being able to experience life on the farm. Now he constantly works to help keep family members on the farm from one generation to the next.
“Not all families have a family Christmas. You remember that.”
During Hanson’s time doing consulting work, he has found only 30 percent of farms ever make it past the second generation. Too many family “train wrecks” can happen between generations such as unexpected death, divorce, financial problems, accidents and illness.
Hanson warns that families which end up in court to settle an estate or someone’s will often never speak to each other again after walking out of the courthouse. He has seen this firsthand during his time at Nebraska.
Hanson has some ties to Illinois as he grew up in Henry County where his hometown was Cambridge. He also attended Western Illinois University and did some graduate work at the University of Illinois.
(The View from the Cab is powered by Petersen Chevy-Buick in Fairbury)