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With great delight at the Saskatchewan Young Ag Entrepreneurs  (www.saskyoungag.ca )meeting on the coldest night in January, I met Greg Johnson, Canada’s Tornado Hunter (www.tornadohunter.com). As farmers we are all sky watchers, and Greg’s photos did not disappoint. He has now compiled his adventures into a wonderful well documented book called “Blown Away”.

Greg’s message to the young farmers was to follow their passion, as he explained being caught up in a business for 10 years with 23 employees, and all the outward trappings of success, yet he felt sad, depressed, and trapped. Here was a man before the audience who has had near death experiences being caught on the wrong side of a tornado, telling young farmers not to settle.

Johnson is also well rooted for adventure and exploration with the role models his travelling parents have set, and his 80 something grandfather who was known to cycle close to 60 miles a day.

I am just curious, are you settling? Are you feeling trapped after a long winter of heaps of snow, cloudy days, and no hope of things changing much on your place?

Depression is a story that I share with Greg’s history, and we both encourage farmers to seek medical attention and get treatment for depression.

Depression can also result from being stuck in nasty circumstances, and that is the other lesson that I learned from some of the young farmers who shared stories of concern for family and neighbours.

Where is it written in the farm family code of conduct rule book that the next generation has to suffer, like their parents or grandparents did ? By suffering, the younger farmers hear “we suffered through as young parents, and you will have to get used to it ?” WHY ?  Just because your folks went through difficult dynamics, lack of communication and disrespect with their folks, do you have to suffer the same circumstances ? No !!!

Some folks are never going to be ready to change. You should be the fly on the wall in my office as I get weekly sad tales of 80 something folks who have all the power and control and decision making clout. Or the mother who will not accept the fact that she is going to have make room for a new family member when her child marries soon.

Greg’s expertise as an extreme weather watcher is honoured by Environment Canada meteorologists, because Greg gives them what he calls “ground truth”. The fancy technology and  radar can figure out what is going on 100 feet up, but someone needs to be clear about what is really happening on the ground, and that is where Greg’s courage and insight shines.

What is the ground truth at your farm ? Are you willing to have those courageous conversations to shine new light and hope for the next generation ? I have met young men who don’t have a farm to run, and they would love to be adopted in a joint venture project by a family who cares about their passion for the future of agriculture, and models healthy family and business dynamics. Call me and I will give you Brad’s name. He gave me permission to put the alert out.

Don’t accept storms repeating themselves over and over.  Sometimes Greg will read all the warning signs right on his specialized laptop and race to where the tornado should be, sometimes he does a lot of waiting, and other times he takes advantage of the amazing green, black or lightning-lit sky even when the “real storm” does not materialize.

Agriculture needs storm watchers who are willing to provide the “ground truth” of what is acceptable behaviour for family business and what is just plain nuts.

I am in the process of developing a training program for farm family coaches who want to do the work I have done for the past 10 years across the prairies. The demand for someone to sit in the sacred space of silence doing the heaving lifting, and giving a safe framework for clarity and certainty is not going to sputter out.

In Greg’s book he quotes Steve Jobs “ Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

If you are feeling that you are never good enough or can never please the founders or other team members on your farm, take a look in the mirror.

What can you change?

What are you avoiding? What choices are you making?

My biggest desire for the SYA group was to instill a sense of hope for them, that as they learn great conflict resolution skills to manage their business risks, and communicate clearly, they will have an awesome future in agriculture.

One young farmer admitted that his passion for summer storms had kept him up all night watching the amazing light show in the heavens. He didn’t do too well at work the next day after only 2 hours of sleep, but he was still very happy he had the experience.

We all want to be happy.

We get out of bed quickly in the morning when we have purpose and passion.

What lessons do you need to learn from watching the storms on your farm ?

What is the ground truth that you need to write into your farm family code of conduct?

I would love to hear your story.

Remember, it is your farm, your family, and your choice.

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.

$15

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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