Farm Used to Teach Business to the Next Generation of Murphys

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Sep. 27, 2010 12:00 am  

When Charles Murphy Jr. created a partnership to hold the family's assets in the late 1990s, he also wanted it to be used as a business teaching tool for future generations.

In 2000, Murphy and his adult children Madison and Martha, who managed the family partnership, agreed to use it to buy nearly 17,000 acres of farmland in south Arkansas for $16.6 million. The acreage was purchased from Deltic Timber Corp., the publicly traded spinoff of Murphy Oil Corp.

Charles Murphy Jr. wanted the farm to be functioning so his grandchildren could taste what it is like to run a business.

"Farming is kind of an interesting business because for kids it has a beginning and an end," Madison Murphy said in a 2008 trial contesting a federal estate tax bill received after his father's death in 2002.

On the farm, the grandchildren could see what happens after something is planted, harvested and sold, he said.

Martha Murphy said during the court case the farm was "an excellent, excellent training ground for the children.

"Without really realizing it, they're financially literate," she said. "They know their way around a P&L, a balance sheet, a budget."


See Also: Tax Fight Reveals Murphy's Philosophy on Wealth



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