I have been on my family’s dairy farm since I was 2. I know the ins and outs of milking cows, tending to this land and being responsible with our natural resources.
But, running a dairy is much more than cows and crops. It’s a business that requires us to plan carefully to protect our farm’s future. This is why our Tullando Farm is incorporated. A second land company that my family established to grow crops, Tullando East, is a limited liability company (LLC).
I give the credit to my parents for incorporating the farm in 1973, which made for a smooth transition from their generation to mine. The foundation they laid will help when my wife, Karen, and I pass the farm to two of our children.
Mom and Dad were looking ahead for those of us who wanted to remain in farming. They decided incorporation was a great way to protect us. The government gave us these options. With incorporation, the farm does not become publicly held. It stays in the family. My dad said we purchased the farm once and he didn’t want one of us to buy it again.
Many farmers seek the advice of lawyers, tax advisors and accountants when it comes to the business side of farming and we’re certainly no exception. We surround ourselves with good people who can help us. My parents sought people who could advise us and we still do because these are subjects we’re not very knowledgeable about.
So, while at first glance our use of “Inc.” and “LLC” may sound somewhat corporate-ish, we’re using the tools available to us and many family businesses to ensure a smooth transition to our farm’s future generations. In fact, I get excited at the prospect of seeing the farm possibly continuing in the hands of our grandchildren.
It’s very fulfilling to know we have been able to keep the farm going in the family. I have seen so many of my friends’ farms go by the wayside over the last 40 years and it’s hard to watch.
Forming a corporation and an LLC are ways of helping this farm survive. I want to instill this and pass it on to our next generation.