How do Multigenerational Families Work Together?

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Ask a Farmer

Photo by Dan Grant/Illinois Farm Bureau

The farming industry has been a family affair from the beginning, when the entire family had to walk through fields handpicking crops. Today isn’t much different, at least not on our farm. Though the tools and methods have changed drastically, planting, harvest and everything in between still requires all hands on deck.

I grew up on a fourth-generation farm that’s now run by my father, uncles, two cousins and myself. We grow corn, soybeans and wheat, and have a small cattle operation. Each of us plays a vital role in keeping things moving smoothly.

My father runs the sprayer and combine. One uncle operates the planter and drives the semitrailer, while the other handles tillage and runs another combine. My cousins and I float back and forth among those duties, tending to the livestock and keeping up on equipment maintenance.

We all must work side by side and make all major decisions together, even when we disagree, for the good of the operation and not by personal preference. The key is to remember that at the end of the day the farm is important, but family comes first.

Kendall Browning serves on the Illinois Farm Bureau State Young Leader Committee. He, his wife, Kelsey, and their three children live on a family farm near West Frankfort in Franklin County.

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