ACROSS THE EDITOR’S DESK®
IN TIMES LIKE THESE, TEDDY ROOSEVELT HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD.
Theodore Roosevelt said it so well: “Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have.” That message resonates with farmers when faced with low prices for the fifth straight season and producers are finding it tough to rub two nickels together.
My travels this summer took me to Colorado, Montana, Michigan, Washington, D.C., Illinois, and several points across the Midwest. When strangers asked me about the farming business, I answered, “It’s tough.” I told them some farmers haven’t made money for years, and others are struggling to cover their costs.
When I talked to farmers this summer, I often relied on Teddy Roosevelt. “Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have.”
That adage also relates to farm succession planning. This issue marks the introduction of our newest contributor to the “Can Their
Problem Be Solved?” monthly column. Mark McLaughlin joins our Transition Team of Jolene Brown and Myron Friesen in sharing their stories of farm family communication, business structure, and succession planning. It’s one of the most-read pages in Successful Farming magazine.
Like a lot of farmers following in the footsteps of a legend, McLaughlin of Ankeny, Iowa, has some big shoes to fill. Don Jonovic, who wrote the column for more than 20 years, retired earlier this year. (See the May issue, page 65, to read Jonovic’s farewell column.)
McLaughlin’s experience on his fifth-generation Iowa farm helps form the advice he’s given to farm families for the past 14 years. They are not always easy conversations. During times like these, it’s best to rely on Teddy Roosevelt: “Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have.”
That’s McLaughlin’s advice to a family waiting for just the right time to start talking about transitioning the farm (see page 72). His answer? Don’t wait!
“You don’t have to know everything to have an effective farm succession strategy. You just need to take your next step,” he says.
To order the T-shirt on our cover, see page 10.