Over the past five to six years I have taken on full responsibility for making sure all the work gets completed, but my father always must be in control. He has to be involved in all of the decisions
I have been working with my father full time for 12 years. I have been married for three years and my wife works off the farm full time.
The farm business is financially sound. We expanded the dairy herd three years ago. Over the past five to six years I have taken on full responsibility for making sure all the work gets completed, but my father always must be in control. He has to be involved in all of the decisions.
He is 65 years old and in declining health but when it comes to talking about my future in the business he just clams up. I love farming but I am not sure how much longer I can tolerate not knowing what the future is. My wife is getting really frustrated.
Letting go of control can sometimes be a very difficult thing to do, particularly for fathers. You mentioned that your father is almost 65 years old.
This indicates that he has probably been farming for close to 45 years. If your father will not sit down to discuss the future, you ultimately will have to make a decision.
You could confront him with an ultimatum that things need to be addressed and that you cannot continue on the way things are going. If you do elect to take this route, there can be serious ramifications. Father might take it as though you are challenging his authority and dig in his heels even further. Or, on the other hand it is possible that he is waiting for you to challenge him for control of the farm.
You two do need to talk. Ask your father what he went through when he started farming and how he and your grandfather worked out the transition. You want to understand how things transpired when he was in your position.
You may find that he went through a struggle to get control and has a belief system that supports a young person needing to stand up to the older generation and give that ultimatum so that senior generation will have proof that you have what it takes to make the financial and management decisions.
The key point through all of this is to try and understand what your father is going through and what it is that he is afraid of as he moves into this later phase of his life.
Letting go of the farm might mean that in his mind the next thing for him is dying. Try your best to understand what is going on inside your father. BF