Quiet time to yourself can be golden, but the silence of avoidance and fear can be devastating to a farm or relationship. Pay attention to what you don’t hear.

A now-grown farm kid has eyes that light up when he talks of “how great is it to be out there on the tractor.” At this time of year, the field equipment is tuned and ready to go. Some young “wannabee” farmers are not going to be occupying the seats, they will be toiling at their off-farm jobs.

There is a lot more to farming than riding the tractor, but I think that there is a deep reason why so many farm men don’t want to let go of that steering wheel…ever.

I tell anxious farmers in my seminars that “farmers never retire, they just learn to re-invent themselves in new roles.” The audience breathes a sigh of relief, and decides I am “okay to listen to.” This winter, an 83 year old active farmer was happy to be part of the audience, and has no plans to stop seeding.

As I reflect on the comments from young farm kids who are now trying to decide if they can be the next generation on the farm, I am struck by their passion to be their own boss, raise a family on the fields and carry a huge burden of debt. If riding the tractor is not going to happen for you anymore as they take over, what joy will you find in other pursuits? You don’t like that question do you?

Sometimes what we think we want can be arrived at with a different roadmap or plan. Maybe it is the silence and solitude that the young man is craving, he’s close to burnout working 100 hour weeks at two jobs, and trying to stay happily married. Can he work on a part-time basis with folks who own the tractors? Can he let go of his passion for the steering wheel and focus on the things that provide a more secure cash flow? Is his emotional well-being totally dependent on what he does for a living or is it more about who he is as a person, his character?

This spring may be a tough one if you think it’s going to be your last one on the field. It’s hard to let go of control and the smell of the fresh earth accepting new seed. If you are going to let go, what are you going to move towards? Can you become the hired man again?

This season is hard for the spouses who are weary with off-farm work, yet still dream of expansion or getting started on that farming plan that’s been mulling around at the office. Do you know how much financial clout you carry in terms of servicing debt? Do you have a clear picture of your family living costs and the income stream you need to draw from your farm and or workplace? Do you know if your parents or grand-parents are willing to gift you some equity or give you a gift that will give you a hand-up (not a handout)? Do you think your spouse shares the same passion as you for agriculture as an entrepreneur and educated risk-taker? Do you have the emotional smarts to set boundaries so that you don’t burn out with overwork or depression?

Silence and solitude on a tractor may be a tonic for some who look forward to the reflecting and thinking time as they crisscross the fields. Are there other ways for you to find renewal…going out to fish, hunt or walk the bush trails?

Silence of a partner who refuses to share his intent or thoughts is a killer of the farm marriage relationship. I am distressed by the calls from farm women who ask me not to call back, but to quietly email them. How can I fully communicate with a woman who feels threatened by having her own opinion which is not highly valued in the farm house? What family secrets are being kept as a threat to stifling her need for resources to help her family?

The domestic violence poster in the women’s washroom at a hotel workshop I attended had tabs for phone numbers. Only one tab was left. That tells me that 10 or more women took the phone numbers to ask for help.

Keep a listening ear out this spring for women and men who are suffering from a bad kind of silence—the kind that keeps them fearful of asking for help to make the communication and conflict resolution healthier on their farm team. Communicate with them on their terms, and check out local resources that they can easily access.

Send them to my website at or go to to encourage them to take charge of their choices.

We all have choices, and sometimes the tough choices scare us, but taking action is possible with a positive mindset. Have a “I can do this” attitude to ask for help. Then surround yourself with a healthy emotional support group.

Seeding time is stressful when there have been years of crop failure before, lower prices at the elevator, the uncertainty of the future markets or fear of making a seeding choice mistake. The season becomes unbearable when the stress of family conflict or secret-keeping is added on to the time pressures of getting the crop in.

Pay attention to the silence.

Get energy from having a quiet time in your tractor, truck or kitchen to reflect on what you want your life on the farm to look like. Unplug the electronics for a while so that you can really listen and interpret your thoughts.

Offer encouragement and support to those around you who are unusually silent when you ask them how they are really doing.

Farmers are a mere 2% of the Canadian population. We have a unique culture in agriculture, and we need to recognize how we can cultivate hope in the present moment. We want to continue to enjoy the harvest of opportunity in this country, and be thankful that no matter how tough the season may be, we can always be rich in relationship.

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.


Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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