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December 10, 2018

Expectations When a Family Member Joins The Operation

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

“I am going back to the farm. Dad says I can be the herd manager in three years.”


Such statements make Bob Milligan cringe. Milligan is a management and labor specialist with Dairy Strategies, LLC, and a former dairy management specialist with Cornell University.


“Promotions should be based on performance and potential, not family status,” he says. So the advancement of the junior generation should be no different than what it would be in any other large agribusiness or major corporation.


“Advancement to a position with more responsibility should always be based on performance and readiness for the new position,” he says. “Senior management has the responsibility to provide opportunities for advancement and rewards for those who have earned a promotion.”


Milligan says the senior generation has a responsibility to clearly communicate what is expected and how promotions are earned. Senior leadership needs to provide “guidance and mentoring in communicating the learning, professional development and personal growth necessary to be prepared to succeed when the move is made to the new position.”


Senior leaders should meet annually with employees with management potential to assess progress and provide clarity of expectations for the coming year, he says.