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Posts: 10,540
Registered: ‎05-13-2010

How would you teach this?

Our daughter, age 33, has been working on the farm with us since she was a kid, wants to take it over someday. She has been learning the production side, taking on more responsibilities, since she came on as a full time employee at 19.

We made her responsible for hiring the latest employee, and I think she made an excellent choice. The trucking schedule for live haul had Mike in an uproar a couple of weeks ago. I sat down and got the main chores blocked out against that, then had her refine it. Last week, he just handed her the printout of pig moves, and left the planning up to her entirely. (Can we all shout, Halleluyah?!?!)

We also agreed last week that she needs to learn my administrative system. I show Mike things and keep a month- tabbed binder each year, so he might have a clue; but, I think he just listens to my explanations to be polite. He is just not into the paperwork side of the farm, or our other business interests.

I started today, with a simple, typed outline of how I set up the monthly bookwork, on a worksheet form I designed this winter. Everything was hands-on, with her at the keyboard. She found the file and got it ready to use for the month, made notes on it as I explained how things are separated into three business accounts, etc.

That first lesson led to me demonstrating how I do the online 943 payment, why I prioritize it, etc. She watched and wrote down each step, which I then typed up and printed out. I am making a binder for her, with each " lesson" topic indexed, and an identical binder for Mike and me to follow, too.

As I concluded the notes for the second lesson, and received today's mail, with bills from a couple of local businesses, I started making a list of additional lessons that will need to be written. I had another four topics to outline out of today's two, and I can see where each topic will eventually lead down a trail of thought, to a logical end.

I was really impressed with her level of interest, and understanding of why I break things out the way I do. The lessons will repeat over the months, with us going from me showing her a job while she takes notes, to me observing her do a return demonstration of each task.

I think starting in the July slow season, with no income taxes, major haying work, or other distractions, will allow her to get these basics down pretty quickly. Then, we can progress to year end and tax season stuff in future months, after her feet are a bit wet.

It is actually making me streamline a few tasks that I ought to have done sooner, too. Today, for example, I did the quarterly state withholdings online, after she left, to set that up electronically, instead of with paper vouchers and checks...should have done it years ago. We will get to that lesson again in October.

I hate bookwork, but it is my lot in life. I finally figured out that I will never be able to retire from it, unless someone else learns what I do and why I do it. This summer just presented itself as a ripe opportunity to start teaching our daughter in an organized way.

I just wondered: some of you have expressed a lot of ideas and wishes about passing along he farm someday. Do any of you have suggestions and/or ideas about ways to teach the paperwork side of things? Does my way sound like it makes any sense?

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