Legacy. Is it the power to change lives? Or is it a place and a tradition and shared values? Or some combination?
I got to thinking about this after attending a workshop on buying and selling farmland as an investment.
One of the speakers was Glen Fladeboe with Fladeboe Auctions. The company sells a lot of farmland across Minnesota. Not surprisingly, they talked about the benefits of selling the family farm and using the resulting cash to create a legacy for a group of heirs.
My most common experience is with families who will not consider selling the family farm they inherited. In that case, the challenge is to structure a legacy plan to protect the farm operation during the transition from one generation to the next.
But as Fladeboe pointed out, for every farm family that has sold the family farm through his company, it has been the happiest day of their lives. It often creates possibilities that none of them imagined.
In some cases it's a chance to help a charity that has been important to the family. In other cases it's a chance to see that every grandchild got a college education.
In recent years the choice to sell family land has been influenced by a massive run-up in land values. With today's land prices, the opportunities resulting from a sale can be impressive.
Fladeboe told of a parcel he sold the first week of June that brought $19,700 an acre. On an 80-acre parcel that was $1.576 million. There were 350 acres that sold in 7 different parcels for an average price over $14,000 per acre.
Fladeboe reports that the heirs were very happy after the sale.
Would it change your vision of your legacy if you knew that you could give each kid 80 acres of farm land - or give them each $1 million which could create a permanent income stream of $40,000 forever? What if it was twice that? Or three times?
What if you could leave a financial legacy and preserve the family property? Sometimes a good estate plan can do that. All it takes is planning.
The opinions of Rich Dunn are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.