Meat+Poultry - September 2020 - 8

C O M M E N TA R Y

Burden or privilege?
This month's magazine features
MEAT+POULTRY's first-ever "Family
Business Focus" report. While we
have published many family business
stories in the magazine through the
years (most of our "Small Business
Matters" articles feature small family
meat operations), this is the first time
we have dedicated a full report on the
topic. Thanks to a partnership with the
North American Meat Institute (NAMI)
and its Family Business Task Force,
stories of family businesses in the
meat and poultry industry - processors
and their suppliers - highlight the
success and challenges of companies
that have been passed down from
generation to generation.
When it comes to family businesses,
MEAT+POULTRY is also part of
the club. The magazine is owned by
Sosland Publishing Company, which
is itself a fourth-generation family
business. The company and its The
Southwestern Miller weekly magazine
were started by three Sosland
brothers, Sam, David and Sanders,
in 1922. In the almost 100 years that
followed, as the publishing company
was handed down to the subsequent
generations, more magazines and
digital products were added under the
Sosland Publishing Company umbrella

(MEAT+POULTRY was acquired
in 1996). So, understanding the
importance and uniqueness of family
business operations is nothing new at
MEAT+POULTRY.
As we've been working on this
report, interviewing people from family
businesses throughout the industry,
we've learned about the challenges that
come along with working with family
and structuring businesses where
colleagues meet not only at the board
room table, but the dinner table as well.
Taking over a business that has
been in the family for years is a lot
of responsiblity. Striking a balance
between carrying on the legacy of
the past and deciding where to take
the business in the future can leave
family business members struggling,
both with themselves and with other
members of the family; it's not for
everyone. But most who have taken on
the challenge and received the business
baton from the family member before
them, have no regrets. They might have
some stories and lessons to share from
the challenges they've endured, but at
the end of the day, most agree family
business is a privilege not a burden.
A couple of years ago, I interviewed
the fourth-generation owner of a
sausage processing plant in Chicago
- Nicole Makowski. She took over
her family business at age 22. Even
though she had worked at the plant
over summers when she was younger,

it wasn't a forgone conclusion that she
would take over the business from her
father. She wasn't sure if she was ready,
if she wanted the responsibility, if she
wanted to take the baton. Then, at the
age of 19, her grandfather approached
her and expressed confidence in her
ability to run the business. He told her
she was the right fit to take over and
encouraged her to study business at
college to prepare herself. She followed
his advice and a few years later, she got
a loan and bought the family business.
Twenty years later, she is still running
Makowski's Real Sausage Co. and has
never regretted the decision.
Trevor Caviness hasn't regretted his
decision to join his family's business
- Hereford, Texas-based Caviness
Beef Packers - either. Now serving as
president, Caviness came on board
after college in 1998. He never viewed
joining the family business as a burden
or forced responsibility, instead it was
a privilege.
"It's a wonderful opportunity, if
you're blessed to be a part of a family
business, to use your talents and
strengths to continue to carry that
legacy on," he explained. "It would
have been hard for me to ever want to
pass up this opportunity"
You can read more about the
Caviness family's story and others in
the "Family Business Focus" report
starting on Page 16.
KIM BERLIE CLYM A | kc lyma@sosland.com

A note to our readers
MEAT+POULTRY knows how important it is to have timely access to the vital industry
information and insights we provide. In addition to our industry leading print editions, you can
always stay engaged wherever you are with our digital editions at meatpoultry.com/digital_
editions, and get the latest news first by signing up for MEAT+POULTRY's newsletters at meatpoultry.
com/newsletter_subscriptions. For assistance please e-mail us at subscriptions@sosland.com.

8

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Meat+Poultry - September 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - September 2020

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