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Tips on Surviving the ‘Busy Seasons’ of Farming

Compeer Financial
Educational Opportunities: 
Young, Beginning Farmers, Women in Ag
Home > Education & Events > May 2016 > Tips on Surviving the ‘Busy Seasons’ of Farming

You may read the title and think busy seasons are all the time! Well, yes, but we also know there are extremely busy times at certain periods of the year. For some that might be harvest; for others, it might be calving; and even others, it might be every morning. To each farmer and each farm family, it may look a little different – but all will test your patience.

Here are a few essentials we’ve noted along the way that may also be helpful to you (and some you may already be doing) during the busy season.
  1. Get organized. This is not your first rodeo, sowhy not get organized before the chaos even starts? Begin with a mental note of the necessities required during the busy season you still need to get. This might be a better pair of work boots because yours may not last another season, or another pair of pants so laundry doesn’t need to be done so often, or even a good Bluetooth headset to keep in touch with others.
  2. Second, find those items and get them ready (cleaned, charged or located by the door).
  3. Keep things easily accessible. This may mean the kitchen counter looks like a food serving line for several weeks, but it makes packing lunches or grabbing a bite to eat much faster and easier.
  4. You may also want to consider organizing the other roles you fill in life – being a mom, being the cook, being the housekeeper. Having a childcare backup or an evening childcare option will reduce your stress.
  5. There are a lot of resources available via the web for make-ahead meals, large meal planning or freezer meals.
  6. Consider hiring a part-time housekeeper during the busy season or having someone assist you with non-farm duties.
  7. Share your plan with the crew. On a family farm, you may only have a few family members that make up your crew. Larger operations may have multiple hired hands. Either way, communicate your plan. For instance [my mom will] pack a lunch box for those living in the house and then deliver a hot meal for all helping during suppertime. Or, if there are several that could assist with making and delivering supper, make a schedule of who is in charge for what nights. If you are available to assist on specific days or specific times of day, let it be known so that your time is fully utilized. If you work full-time off the farm, but have the ability to assist some weeknights and then on weekends during the busy season, say so.
  8. Have patience. We can all share examples of farm life stresses and the headaches that come with breakdowns. It is how we handle those times that can keep our blood pressure from skyrocketing. Know that family time will take on a whole new look for a few weeks but will still be family time. This may be a packed meal shared from the bed of your pick-up or a cab ride for a few rounds so that you can at least see your spouse. It may even be having a conversation via text messaging or while picking rocks because there may be no other time to talk. Whatever it looks like, it’s not about quantity or appearance – it’s about quality time together to connect.
  9. Connect with your spouse before the busy season. Being able to take a weekend, a day or even an afternoon to physically get away from the farm prior to the start of the busy season is essential. Doing this without your children is also very important to your marital relationship. You may need to plan this, as your spouse will already have farm on the brain and not want to leave during the getting-ready-for-busy-season season.
Although being patient and prepared isn’t always easy, it will make the busy season go a lot smoother. Good luck to all farm families as you make it through another busy season! Feel free to share your tips for surviving your busy season below.

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