Multigenerational family businesses pepper the American and global business landscape, and especially the US meat processing industry, from farm to table. Some have taken their businesses public, some have opted to sell, and some remain privately owned and controlled by the families that founded them. What they all have in common are the unique challenges multigenerational family businesses face every day.
Shortly after the merger of the American Meat Institute (AMI) and the North American Meat Association (NAMA) in 2015 to form the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), conversations started happening about how the newly formed NAMI and its members and their resources might help family businesses in the industry navigate the obstacles unique to them, as well as strengthen the new merger of the two organizations.
Starting a family
“It was not too long after the merger, maybe at our first executive board meeting and I was talking to Dave [Miniat] about both of us being fourth generation in multigenerational family businesses,” said Eric Gustafson, chief executive officer of Coast Packing, Vernon, Calif., and member of the board of directors of NAMI, executive board member and co-founder of NAMI’s Family Business Task Force. “We talked about how great it would be to further strengthen and galvanize this merger and coming together as a group to provide value to our membership base because there’s a ton of us that are family owned and operated.