The family established Jackson Express, a C-store Nelson managed until the time was right to start farming full-time. “Jackson Express was a strategic move to help me start a business, build equity and be in a better position to enter the farming operation when the ag economy allowed,” he said. As he has transitioned into the farming operation, Nelson’s wife Emily has assumed management responsibilities at Jackson Express.
The Nelson farm is structured as three separate sole proprietorships, though they realize the importance of planning for the transition of farm ownership as two of the three prepare for retirement. Jackson Express is set up as a separate legal entity.
Managing a multi-generational farm has its advantages and challenges. “We really have to work together to communicate when it comes to making decisions because we all have different perspectives,” he said. “I’m making decisions today with a 40-year vision, where my dad and uncle have a shorter horizon and might be content with doing things the way they are.”