Cultivating Narratives: Cultivating Successors


  • Thomas L. Steiger Indiana State University
  • Jeanette Eckert University of Toledo
  • Jay Gatrell Indiana State University
  • Neil Reid University of Toledo
  • Paula Ross University of Toledo



Family Farms, Farm Transfer, Floriculture, Intergenerational Succession, Ohio, Oral History


This paper analyzes oral histories of eight northwest Ohio farms on the theme of farm succession. We report several significant findings: a process of succession that is less orderly than some recent studies suggest; that farmers hope for, even expect succession but do not plan for it; the importance of wives to the adaptation and diversification of on-farm operations; and that contrary to some claims, the “farmer’s boy”–type successors can innovate and adapt, suggesting the future of family farms may be in sounder hands than some believe.


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Author Biographies

Thomas L. Steiger, Indiana State University

Department of Psychology, Indiana State University; Terre Haute, IN 47809 USA; +1-812-237-3426.

Jeanette Eckert, University of Toledo

University of Toledo Urban Affairs Center; +1-419-530-6048.

Jay Gatrell, Indiana State University

College of Graduate and Professional Studies, Indiana State University; +1-812-237-3005.

Neil Reid, University of Toledo

Department of Geography and Planning and the Urban Affairs Center, University of Toledo; +1-419-530-3593.

Paula Ross, University of Toledo

Urban Affairs Center, University of Toledo; +1-419 530-3595.



How to Cite

Steiger, T. L., Eckert, J., Gatrell, J., Reid, N., & Ross, P. (2012). Cultivating Narratives: Cultivating Successors. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 2(2), 89–105.