Farming has historically been dependent upon farmers' sons to maintain the occupation; the major succession mechanism being some form of father and son joint operation. This paper, using data drawn from field studies in two Illinois farm communities of Swedish and Yankee origin, compares such farming teams to show how family concerns create differing social contexts for the intergenerational succession process. Parental commitment to continuity and socialization that creates sibling cooperation relate to why Swedish succession unfolds in a context of intergenerational harmony and cross-generational acrimony, while the Yankee succession process is the reverse. Short-term outcomes of family norms were apparent in operation features, but the long-term continuity effects are of more consequence. Swedish land ownership has been relatively stable while Yankee ownership has fluctuated, and absentee owners control a greater proportion of community land. Succession patterns brought into relief, because ethnic beliefs favor a particular father-son working arrangement, crystallize subtle practices that more generally influence family farm continuity.

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