I don't quote John Lennon very often, but boy, did he ever get it right when he said, 'Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.' Family farmers and owners of small businesses know that all too well. You're getting the day's work done, thinking about tomorrow and next week and next month, making time to spend with the family, when a sudden illness or injury takes precedence and knocks your well-made plans out the window.
One of our Kentucky Proud friends has endured just such a family hardship, as you can read elsewhere in this edition of Kentucky Proud Connection. Kathy Wheeler of Hardyville had to scale back her business this year just as her farm's unique heritage breed of turkey is growing in popularity. I'm happy to report that her family's situation has improved, and she is hoping to raise a full 'crop' of turkeys in 2013.
I have no doubt that many of you have experienced similar difficulties. And when disaster struck, I'm betting some of you thought, 'I wish I were better prepared.'
There's no time like the present. After you read Kathy's story, think about developing a continuation plan for your business in case you or another key member of your team are knocked out of action for a while. Consult your attorney, your insurance agent, and your accountant. Compare notes with other Kentucky Proud members. Many of them are family farmers and business people like you, and many of them are (or should be) having the same conversation around the dinner table.
Look at the physical operation of your business and see if you can make it safer. At the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, we often talk about farm and home safety in terms of minimizing the risk of a fatality. But a serious injury to you or someone else can hurt your business ' and that can affect your family and all the other families involved in your operation.
While you're at it, think about what will happen to your business when you're ready to enjoy a well-deserved retirement. The University of Kentucky is hosting two conferences on transitioning the family farm to the next generation, Nov. 15 in Gilbertsville and Nov. 16 in Hopkinsville. Experts from UK, Virginia Tech, and The Ohio State University are scheduled to make presentations on this important subject.
This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but I hope it will give you some food for thought. Make time today to take care of your business ' and yourself.