Farmers Retirement Bliss

“Retirement is an artificial construct, stop thinking about it. Think about reinvention instead. I know too many people in their sixties who have “retired” from their occupations and are, basically, sitting around waiting to die. There is no moral or religious code calling for the excitement of life to end before life ends.”

-Alan Weiss (a consultant I highly respect. )

Reinventing Yourself

Recently at a farm family meeting of siblings we were trying to analyze why the parents were so reluctant to let go of farm asset ownership. I suspect that one of the key factors keeping transition planning stuck is the fact that many farm men do not have an identity, role, or purpose beyond their decades old role of “farmer.”

Is your dad looking for permission to continue owning a pick-up that he can fuel with farm gas or diesel, and does he still want a few cows to keep “busy?”

My farmer and I bought an Ocean Kayak that we have to fuel ourselves with our arm power. We have explored many of the local lakes and plan to have more adventures next spring and summer. We also made sure that the craft can support young children who would delight in using it as a floating dock.

In coaching terms, people let go of old habits and ways when they have something new to look forward to and do. What is it that you need to unlearn? What new things can you learn this year that would excite you enough to spend less time managing the farm as you transfer decision making to your successors?

[Tweet “Hey #farmers, don’t just #retire, #reinvent yourself and keep having fun!”]

Hobbies for Farmers

Here’s a possible list of hobbies for farmers:

  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Hunting
  • Tinkering
  • Volunteering to drive cancer care folks
  • Leadership institute work
  • Camping in Russia and training new leaders (Kingdom Ventures International)
  • Building new homes for MDS (Mennonite Disaster Service)
  • Politics – local or provincial
  • Ag policy leadership
  • Entrepreneur mentoring or new deal making
  • Starting a completely new business
  • Selling farm machinery
  • Helping at auction sales
  • Reviving a trade such as electrician or welding
  • Art…creating art from “junk”
  • Oxbow historian clipping from the Producer
  • Flying remote planes or real life size planes.
  • Working with the poor in Haiti
  • House parent in a teenage group home
  • Fishing in winter and summer
  • Teaching kids 4-H projects
  • Emcee for community events
  • Writing your life story
  • Photo journaling, making memory books of photos of the farm
  • Playing in a band that entertains many groups
  • Driving seeders and combines
  • Literacy classes at local school
  • Recycling volunteer
  • Flower planter and landscaper to keep town beautiful
  • Teaching English in a foreign country or in Brandon
  • Cutting rags at the local thrift store
  • Refinishing furniture or repairing things for sale at the thrift store
  • Baking to do random acts of kindness, and helping single moms
  • Cross country skiing
  • Working in the food bank
  • Feeding the birds, and building amazing feeders

One of the great things about the internet is that you can Google “how to do…” anything, and come up with amazing ideas. You might also want to check out vocation vacations, elder volunteering, and chat with your local librarian. There are many workable ideas for all types of farmers.

Remember that you will have more excitement about getting out of bed in the morning when you feel that your life has purpose. Find out what “flow” is for you, the thing that you do when you lose all track of time because you are enjoying the activity to the max. I am in flow when I write, and paint watercolors. I also enjoy visiting.

January is a great time to de-clutter your house and shop, to donate the things that you don’t use or need anymore. That will create a new space and energy for a new hobby or latent hobby to be re-born.

I sure would like to visit the farmer who told me he is restoring 3 older cars as a gift for each of his adult children. Let me know what hobby is keeping you alive with delight for a full and purposeful life.

Remember you have a choice. Act now.

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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+1-204-534-7466 | elaine(at)

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