Taking Time with Friends and Community

I hope that you’ve carved out some time for visiting, camping and fishing. We all are busy farmers, but deep down there is a longing that I see for folks hoping to have a deeper sense of connection.

When we find ourselves in the midst of hectic lives on farms, sometimes it’s difficult to find time to connect with friends and community. If we aren’t careful to nurture our relationships with others, we may find ourselves isolated, with only the support of our immediate family. Social and emotional support networks are important, particularly on farms. Friends and community are not just a nice bonus for farm families; they are essential. They serve several important roles. Friends are great for fun, relaxation, renewal, and leisure activities. They provide an excuse for much-needed breaks from farm labour. More than just a good laugh, we can share joys and frustrations with them. They are good for our sense of well-being and our frame of mind.

When we need insights, friends can give us an outside perspective of what is happening in our lives and our farms. They can act as our sounding board. Watching our friends’ lives unfold helps us to see other examples of families, marriages, parenting, and farm activities. Good friends can give both positive feedback and constructive criticism when we can’t see the situation clearly ourselves.

Megan’s Story:

“One time I had a wise friend tell me that my then boyfriend wasn’t treating me well enough. In the midst of the situation I was in, I couldn’t see that for myself. I am forever grateful that he did that for me. I once told that friend that I was concerned about his mental health. It was one of the most difficult things I ever did, but I did it with love because I was sincerely concerned about him.”

What happens if you become socially isolated?

If people become socially isolated, they may lose a sense of what the range of “normal” looks like. Their world may become so small they are unable to see the possibilities that exist or, on the other hand, they may think their untenable situation is “normal.” In several of the most conflicted farm families we have worked with, these off-farm relationships have been severed over time, and the families are left in isolation to sort through the troubles.

Community relationships can reassure us we’re not alone, and people care about us. They can help hold us up, both emotionally and in practical ways, when life’s storms hit.   In community, the celebrations in life are sweeter and the tragedies more bearable. “By reaching out to others and taking advantage of their support and friendship, you can gain strength to deal with your problems and an ability to take control of your situation.” (Danes 2010)

Social time and being connected to community or to the family of origin can be a daughter-in-law (DIL) or others on the farm team. Sometimes the demanding nature of farming can make it difficult for a DIL to leave to be with her family. “The farming operations and related livestock and crop responsibilities made it difficult to visit extended family members who resided outside of the geographical area, which was particularly the case for extended maternal family members. Some farm women expressed sadness in their inability to travel great distances to see extended family members.” (Shaw 2009, 443) It’s important that the rest of the farm team ensures that this visiting can happen without it being a huge burden for the DIL.

Questions for reflection:

  • If you were feeling worried about something, who would you call?
  • If there was a tragedy, who would you call?
  • If you wanted to go out for the evening, how easy would it be to find someone to hang out with?
  • If you had really wonderful news, who would be delighted to hear this news?
  • Who can you share just about anything with and not get the sense that they are judging you?

I also want to encourage you to seek out resources to support your mental well-being. I have found a new magazine from, which is a great resource to support folks who struggle with bi-polar depression. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in five Canadians is struggling with a mental health issue. As a depression survivor, I am on a personal mission to encourage people to get medical help and treatment for depression in all of its various forms. What is your plan to take time for family, friends and community?


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
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Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
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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
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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
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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
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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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