Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Cornhusker Economics (October 2011)


Published by University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics. Copyright © [2011] Board of Regents, University of Nebraska.


Should contributions to the success of a family farm or ranch be compensated? One of the most difficult decisions owners of a farm and ranch business confront occurs when one heir returns to the family business, while he or she has siblings that do not. If you start out with the premise that we all love our children and hope to treat them fairly, it follows that if contributions to the success of the farming business are more or less equal we should compensate our children more or less equally. The difficulty arises because the farming heir will many times make contributions to the success of the business that are not equaled by their siblings. If one agrees with the statement that contributions should be compensated, then we must consider how compensation will be provided to the heir that has made the contribution.