It is hard work to pass on a family business. Statistics indicate that 65 percent of all family businesses fail after two generations and 90 percent fail after three generations. When most family businesses are asked what factors they think are most likely to lead to business failure, financial reasons such as poor investments, the economy, declining markets and financial constraints including limited access to capital are often listed. However, a recent study by The Williams Group of 3,250 families whose businesses failed in either the second or third generation found four main causes:
1. Breakdown of trust and communication within the family: 65 percent
2. Failure to prepare heirs for their roles and responsibilities: 25 percent
3. Lack of family mission and vision: 10 percent
4. Estate and financial planning errors: less than 5 percent
The take-home message is that passing on the family farm business begins with regular, consistent, meaningful dialogue and conversations. A good starting point is to conduct planned and well-organized family farm business meetings. There are some practical guidelines and pointers for conducting these types of meetings I will cover next week in this column.
Ohio Forages and Grasslands annual conference
The 2017 Ohio Forages and Grasslands Council annual conference will be Feb. 3, from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg. The program theme is "High Quality Forages." Keynote speaker is Dr. Kim Cassida, forage Extension specialist at Michigan State University, presenting "Managing Grass-Legume Mixtures."
Other program topics and presenters include: Cassida and Dr. Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension, talking about "High Energy Pasture for Grass-Finished Beef." Two Ohio producers, Bill Lawhon of Knox County and Jeff Ramseyer of Wayne County, will expand on that topic by discussing how they utilize annual and perennial forages in their grass-based beef operations. Lin Karcher, a dairy producer in Meigs County, will discuss the transition to grass-based dairy production.
Don and Megan Burgess of Hancock County will discuss how sheep breed affects utilization of annual forages in their operation. Todd Hager of Allen County will discuss his commercial hay operation that includes baling cover crops within grain crop rotations and reprocessing big square bales of alfalfa into small squares prior to marketing.
A six-state evaluation of "Reduced Lignin Alfalfa" will be presented by Angie Parker (Ohio State University graduate research assistant). Dr. Mark Sulc and Dr. Dave Barker (The Ohio State University) will provide a research update on several projects, including optimizing animal intake on tall fescue pastures, revising potato leafhopper thresholds for leafhopper-resistant alfalfa and alfalfa-grass mixtures, and effects of different harvest schedules on alfalfa-grass mixtures.
Details of the program and a registration form are available at http://www.afgc.org/ohio.php.
Registration is due by Jan. 27. For more information, contact Gary Wilson at email@example.com and 419-348-3500, or Mark Sulc at firstname.lastname@example.org and 614-292-9084.
Revised Worker Protection Standard workshops
This past fall I wrote an article for this column about the revised worker protection standard (WPS) and the compliance manual that was available online to help agricultural employers implement the revised standards. Briefly, WPS protections for agriculture workers with pesticide-related duties are very comprehensive. The rules include requirements for safety training, posting of application information, application signage and verbal warnings, restrictions during applications, decontamination supplies and emergency assistance. The new rules require workers have pesticide handler safety training annually instead of every five years. New employees must be trained before handling pesticides or working in pesticide-treated areas, and only licensed pesticide applicators or EPA-approved trainers will be able to conduct worker training. There is also a first-time-ever age (18) requirement for pesticide handlers and new record keeping requirements.
A series of free workshops put on by the Pesticide Safety Education Program of OSU Extension is being offered to provide employers and managers with what they need to bring their WPS program in compliance with the new WPS requirements.
Topics that will be covered include training, restrictions during application, personal protective equipment, decontamination supplies, record keeping and more. Commercial horticultural growers who employ pesticide handlers/applicators and employers of custom pesticide applicators should consider attending a workshop. The two locations closest to our area are: Feb. 6 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Summit County Extension office in Stow and March 27, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the 4-H Center on the OSU Campus in Columbus.
Advanced registration is required and there is limited seating for the programs. Register online at: go.osu.edu/workerprotection, or call 614-292-4070.
Ohio Hops Conference
The Ohio Hops Conference and Trade Show will be Feb. 24-25 at the OSU South Centers in Piketon. There will be sessions for beginning and advanced hops growers as well as combined topic sessions. The two-day trade show will showcase the latest in hops production and there will be a live demonstration of a hops harvester. The conference has limited space and capacity. Registration information along with a conference agenda is available online at: http://go.osu.edu/OSUHopsConference2017.
Rory Lewandowski is an OSU Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.