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Does Anyone Care About the Farm Like I DoI’ve just read David Specht’s book “The Farm Whisperer…Secrets to Preserving Families and Perpetuating Farms.” It’s a great, quick read of inspiring questions for farm families wanting to transition management and ownership to create a successful legacy. Specht and I met on the Internet…I Googled him, then picked up the phone, then we exchanged books. Don’t worry, we are both happily married. We both are passionate about families and farms having a great future.

Specht has created an app called “Inspired Questions for Farmers” and the one question that caught my attention was this one:

Does anyone care about the farm as much as I do?

What is your answer?

Dad

Founder with aching back, more wrinkles, and a deep sense of responsibility to make sure all the high priority tasks are completed on a timely basis. Dad, are you asking great questions to the successor that you are intentionally grooming? Did you seek out his or her perspective on what their priorities for the day were? What does “lack of caring” actually look like to you? Is it the sloppy job done by cleaning out the bin, the barn, or the shop? Is it leaving early to go home to read bedtime stories to toddlers? Is it choosing to spend time with friends hitting a few targets after your team has already logged a 100 hour work week? Don’t stew about the “lack of care scenarios” in your head Dad. We cannot read you mind. You have to tell us what is frustrating you!

If you are consumed by the work of the farm, dad, as you have few friends and no hobbies, then it may be time for a new perspective.

Yes, the grass needs to be cut, but perfection is not everyone’s standard, and maybe cutting the grass every 3 days is excessive, not just a message that you care lots about how the farm looks and others are busy doing other tasks.

Mom

Because you care about the farm you are willing to do night checks during calving, bathe calves in warm water, and bottle-feed newborn livestock. You use your nurturing skills for your children and your farm animals. You show care in many ways, but you too are noticing that your energy levels are decreased significantly by 8 pm. You would really like to delegate some of your jobs to the next generation, but have a hard time asking for what you need. You don’t want to appear weak or needy.

Today, I am giving you permission to say these words:

“I think that we all should talk about what the farm priorities are for the next 3 months.”

“I need to have some help with my jobs, and share the load, as I am losing energy these days.”

“I sometimes feel that no one else on this farm team cares about the farm as much as I do.”

“I want us to sit down and discuss openly our needs, feelings and wants for the future vision of this amazing farm operation.  I also want more time for fun and family. “

Successor

Do you care about the farm as much as your parents? What things are you currently doing that show the founders how much you appreciate the roles and responsibilities you fulfill on the farm? Do you communicate to your parents with compassion when they seem to be losing some of their resilience, especially during stressful times? When you suggest changes in roles or behavior in order to make things easier or to try a new project for growth are you met with collaborative communication and good decision making? What does really caring for the well-being and success of the farm look like to you in practical terms?

Spouse

You have a voice, too. Are you able to voice your observations as the one with “fresh eyes” from your family of origin experiences? Do you feel respected for your role in providing off-farm income to the farm’s cash flow and to your family’s needs?  Does caring for the farm for you come in the form of contributing labour to the farm when you can, but ultimately saving your energy and efforts for the off farm job  and child care?

[Tweet “Everyone cares about the #farm, just in different ways. Is your farm getting the love it needs?”]

Everyone

Have a meeting with your flipchart and talk about what “caring for the farm means to you, and in practical terms, how is that acted out?

  • Financial care.

Accounts are kept up to date, bills are paid, books are entered currently, and the financial analysis is shared with the farm team. Contingency plans are in place, and the team of advisors for tax, investments, and debt servicing are all on board with the farm’s business plan, succession plan, and estate plan.

  • Operational care.

The equipment is well-maintained in a decently organized shop. People are keen to clean up their messes and put tools back where they belong. Everyone treats equipment well and observes safe handling habits. Landlord relations are great, and production plans are in place to help the next generation have some ownership. Buildings are well-maintained, and the yard looks well-kept.

  • Emotional care.

It is okay to ask for what you need. Conflicts are embraced when there is a difference in perspective for solving problems. Emotions are not hidden but expressed with respect and patience. People adapt by reading the behavior and language of others because they truly care that the farm team has a great culture to work in.

  • Physical care.

Farmers are aging. We all are. Our bodies need good self-care in order to be able to do the long journey of the seasons of farming. Mental health asks for times of renewal and refreshing which can happen in short breaks during the work day, and scheduled holiday time. Is it time to have a visit with your doctor?

Caring for the farm shows up for different folks in different ways. Give everyone permission to describe what their picture of “caring for the farm” looks like. Celebrate the good. Make some changes to transform the “not so good.”

Send me pictures of your farm with your permission to share them in my sessions.

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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+1-204-534-7466 | elaine(at)elainefroese.com

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