Are You an MG or an FG?

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson July 31, 2017 14:37 Updated

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So why did you become a farmer?  There have been many studies showing that farm transitions are impacted by farm family dynamics, societal and cultural values, land ownership, succession, community factors and economic conditions.  And while social achievement and satisfaction through farming and ranching regularly rank as primary reasons to continue in these professions (in spite of low profits and development pressure), there are economic and non-economic issues that play a part as well.  Race, ethnicity and gender, along with health and child care matters can be factors, and there are also influences by family members.

 

Elder and Conger conducted an extensive study in 2000 that found many farm kids’ strong family orientation is constructed  through frequent and meaningful work activities on the farm alongside their parents. But current markets and trends can leave farm owners feeling conflicted.  Many do not want their children to suffer the loss and stress seen in their communities, while others are eager to have a child take over something that is both an inter-generational heirloom as well as a source of revenue.  The feelings held by potential recipients in a farm transition can also be mixed:  a dilemma is often seen as family, community, and tradition battle against higher education, higher-paying jobs, and modernism.

 

There are two sub-groups of farmers that contain different motivations for farming.  They are the multi-generation farmer (MG) and first-generation farmer (FG).  Many MG farms are capable of passing on wealth in terms of knowledge, equipment, land, capital, and credit.  FG farmers have been found to struggle in their endeavors to access capital, land, credit, information and skills.  But the downside for MG farmers is that they can experience constraints in their operations due to long-practiced traditions.  FG farmers by contrast can be more entrepreneurial and willing to tolerate risks connected to innovation because they’re not held down by previous investments in traditional farming assets.

 

Cody Goodknight of Chattanooga, Oklahoma, is an MG and the 2017 Tomorrow’s Top Producer Horizon Award winner.  But it seems that he and his family have demonstrated the characteristics of both an MG and FG farmer.  Cody joined the family farm after receiving a degree in agribusiness from Oklahoma State University.  He gives much credit to his farther who, while being “old-school”, was always very innovative.  Today, Goodknight Farms includes 3,200 acres of wheat, cotton, sesame and grain sorghum; 1,600 acres of range and grassland; and a cattle operation which includes 200 bred heifers and 800 stock calves.  The wheat acres are dedicated to production of certified seed wheat which is sold to local customers.  The Goodknights also do custom work on 3,000 local acres and they harvest wheat and cotton for customers in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas.  Family wealth, innovation, diversification, dedication and hard work.  Congratulations Cody!

 

Share your story of why you became a farmer.  We’d love to hear from you.

 

-Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store Team

Resources:

http://cattlenetwork.com/news/innovation-meets-tradition-okla-farmer-adds-value-100-year-farm

http://www.choicesmagazine.org/choices-magazine/theme-articles/transitions-in-agriculture/theme-overview-transitions-in-agriculture

http://jrre.psu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/20-11.pdf

 

 

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson July 31, 2017 14:37 Updated
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