Managing a successful greenhouse operation is part of both Patti and Mike Boyert’s DNA. A fourth- and third-generation greenhouse grower, respectively, the Medina, Ohio, couple knows what it takes to run a successful business.
And part of that is how they transition their operation to the next generation of the family. With that goal in mind, the Boyerts worked with their local Nationwide Farm Certified agent to lay the foundation for their successors, so they could begin slowing down and enjoying the fruits of their almost four decades of work. That meant building a well-planned farm transition plan.
"We would like to step back a little bit and work 40 or 50 hours a week instead of what we are working now. We had an idea what we wanted to do, but we weren't sure how to implement it. Nationwide gave us the tools and helped us take the steps that we had to take," Patti said. "They knew where we had to go, where we had to bring the lawyer in, how to manage our financials and everything else to carry us into the future.”
1. Making a fair farm transition
Boyerts had a fairly simple goal: To keep the farm in operation and make it a fair farm transition.
"This is one of the most difficult issues parents face in terms of whether to treat children fairly or equally. That is because equal treatment eliminates the fear that one child is favored over any other and is a safe position to take, but that may not be possible if the business is to be handed down as a viable entity," said Nationwide Advanced Consulting Group Consultant Ryan Patton, JD, MBA. "Consequently, a fair arrangement may not necessarily be equal."
Nationwide’s Land As Your Legacy® program helped the Boyerts make the important decisions to ensure that fairness. The program provides farmers like them the tools to lay the groundwork for the future of their operations. Tools like legacy planning and farm transition services help farmers chart the right course to ensure their farms are sustainable well beyond their own generation.
2. Simplifying the farm transition process
Once they knew their path forward, Pattie said she and Mike were able to specifically spell out how their farm transition and succession would unfold with their three children.
“I think it's important that we make the transition as easy and simple as possible. We wanted to stay a farm. We saw too many family farms that fall apart once the parents are gone or it was given equally and there was only certain people running it," she said. "Nationwide gave us the tools so that we could put that all together in a plan and then we presented it to our children. We sat them all down. We presented it to them and said 'These are our wishes. This is what we want. We want everybody to be happy.'”
3. Working with the right partner
Now as Mike and Patti start to weigh a new role on their family farm — grandparents — they’re grateful for the partnership with Nationwide that helped them take the right steps forward with their family farm transition planning.
“We both feel very good to have worked with a partner in Nationwide who was able to help us make it so we can help make our lives easier on the farm," Mike said. "They're helping us be more successful and make the future generations of our operation more successful."