Responsibility is a two way street on the Cox Farm. It is a complicated topic in family farms, especially during the years that transitions start to take hold. It would be easy for my dad to do things as he has always done. It is the path of least resistance.
The 2015 planting season is in the books, unless I need to replant some corn due to all of the rain we have received in the last 10 days.
In my last blog I reflected on my past three planting seasons. Planting is sometimes a monotonous job that gives me much time to think about the way we do business. As I finished planting corn this year, I thought deeply about how responsibility is a powerful thing in a family business.
Responsibility needs not only to be given, but also received. Dad has thrown a lot of responsibility my way, and occasionally I think it is too much to handle. I take care of grain marketing, accounting, managing the hay business, and most of the physical things that fall under the umbrella of producing a crop.
I do understand what he is doing; he wants me to dig right into the business and figure things out. The cool and sometimes scary thing about farming is that a farmer has complete control over the way he/she does business. I'm very thankful that he has "let go" of much of his responsibilities in the crop and hay business. He has transferred to me those tasks to allow him to focus on the cattle operation, which can be a full time job itself.
I have taken ownership in our farm since the beginning, and a lot of this has to do with my dad loosening up on his management hold. I also have seen how responsibility can make an employee thrive. Justin is our main full-time employee. We give him a ton of responsibility, and he just finished his second year of planting all our soybeans. We also include him on our management decisions.
Our experience has been that the more trust a manager puts in employees and lower management, the better those individuals perform. I am happy that Dad has given both me and our full-time employee responsibility. We gladly accept it and run with it.
Continued reading: 'Leading Up' for the Future of the Farm