HOLD ONSpring is the time we are aware of what income taxes we need to pay. But are we aware of all the non-taxable benefits we enjoy on the farm ? Dick Wittman has a planning template to figure out all the things we enjoy on the farm, but don’t account for. (Go to and hit the file downloads “Compensation Summary”.) Things like “free beef” , fuel for the pick-up’s personal use, etc. The farm’s generosity covers many family living expenses. Compensation is sometimes a contentious issue.

Freeloading is a slang term with somewhat of a negative context. I wonder if you have challenged your single adult sons to account for all the benefits they have when then live with you after age 25, and how they depend on you for farm based generosity.

Some single farmers are not leaving the nest. They have it very good at mom’s house. FreeloaderShe is still doing their laundry, feeding them, and mending jeans. Mom is looking for mobile homes, but son isn’t getting the hint.

According the age needs map of coaching, it is important for 20 something adults to leave home and become independent. This flight from the nest gives them a stronger self-esteem and sense of confidence as they learn to do life on their own terms, and with their own financial resources. The sons that don’t ever leave the family farm tend to be angry at age 35 when they feel like “they missed out, and are trapped with family, mortgages, and never-ending farm tasks.”

Farm kids who get to work for a boss other than Dad , come back to the home farm with a new appreciation for different management and work styles. They also learn good money sense when their have to stretch their own hard earned cash.

How do you ask a freeloader to leave?

“We love you son. We want you to live on your own. We hope that you will become more independent. We think this move will also make you more attractive for marriage. Women are attracted to strong, financially independent men.”

Marriage is an important part of the farm human resource plan !

In Westlock Alberta I had a 42 year old farmer approach me after the session with these words: “Elaine, I forgot to get married !”
He had focused all of his energy and time on building up his farm wealth bubble.
Freeloaders may also come in the form of young couples who are not pulling their weight on the farm team, or those writing large personal cheques from the farm account without adequate explanation. Money is what people fight about, and don’t always talk about. These freeloading issues need to be part of the agenda at your family business meeting.

If your style in coping with anger and frustration is to go and “shop til you drop” , you need to deal with the negative sides of “retail therapy”. Using the farm credit card without authorization or wildly spending on things the farm budget can’t afford , is another form of freeloading on the farm.

I hope I’ve hit a nerve here. Money issues are very often the root of much hurt, fear and frustration in farm families.
Have a very clear idea of where your money goes for family living expenses, and where the farm account is benefiting you. Start keeping track of your personal living expenses. You’ll need this number to justify your income stream draw from the farm account. Lenders want this information to be realistic and accurate, so start tracking now!

It’s time to address freeloading on your farm. Be hard on the problem, but soft on the person. Address the issue, and generate workable solutions.

Remember, it’s your farm, your family, your choice.
Happy Seeding !

Elaine Froese,CAFA, CHICoach has been keeping track of family living expenses for 28 years, and is thankful for computer programs to do this. Generosity is a great value, think about the advantage of your farm status. Visit or call 1-866-848-8311 for coaching appointments.

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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