Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version




The story goes like this: The family has one brother who stayed on the farm to work with Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad are now gone. The other brothers and sisters are now wanting to meet to determine an equitable way to split the assets. The on-farm brother has been there over 50 years. He has contributed sweat, management, and value to the operation for decades.

Then the reality sets in. There is a family conversation about the farm now that the parents are gone. It is fairly common to have a difference in perception about the on-farm brother’s contribution to the operation over those years.

The on-farm brother will see his contribution as 9 or 10 on a 1 to 10 contribution scale. He obviously thinks that the farm grew and prospered because he was there helping Mom and Dad for literally decades. He brought new information and technology to the operation through his college education. He made huge advances to the genetics of the cow herd and the productivity of the crops. Not only did he provide valuable sweat equity, but his continuous studying and introduction of new technology was invaluable to the growth and profitability of the operation.