When I first typed out the title it was “how to make your farming father really happy”, but that did not sit well because I believe that each of us as emotionally mature adults get to wake up every morning and decide what our mood and responses will be. We get to choose to be happy in however we frame what is transpiring at our farm. I do not think we “make” others happy.

Sad conversations are ringing in my ears as I write, gathering threads of coaching insights from the week and reflecting on how things could be different.  “Elaine, against my better judgment I signed things over to my son and the very next day he yelled at me to get lost !” These comments likely strike fear in your heart with thoughts like: “man; I hope that does not happen to me !”

In June, we celebrate Father’s Day, which is a great day for families with lots of deposits in their emotional bank accounts, and a dreaded day for fathers and adult children who are not speaking to each other while avoiding any thoughts of repairing the relationship. Don’t give up. Work to create the communication that will build relationship and understanding.

[Tweet “7 keys to having a happy relationship with your #farming father.”]

Here’s what I gleaned from speaking to fathers who are enjoying relationships with their farming sons and daughters, their successors.

I like it when:

1. They Treat Me With Respect

Respect is a pretty loaded word. What does it mean to you? Is it being careful to choose your words before you speak your opinion? Is it looking each other in the eye with love and curiosity as you make decisions together? Is it being aware of your own needs and yet being able to see the issue from Dad’s perspective? If you want to be treated with respect, be respectful. Sounds like a common sense practice, but I see many farm dads and heirs longing for more respect.

2. They Include Me in Their Conversations

We all like to feel that we count. “Not feeling like you count” is a deep sadness for some parents. When we see that the founder of the farm is in the conversation circle, we are opening up possibilities, the chance to create an amazing new scenario together as a team, and not discount one another. Sometimes the conversations are heated with the passion, energy, and optimism of youth. I think that is great. I know that my almost 60-year-old hubby is enjoying the energy of 2 young bucks working alongside him!

3. They Take Responsibility to Get Things Done

Leading a farm is a myriad of decision-making all day long. When the next generation is aware of what work needs to be done, anticipates the tasks, and is self-directed with confidence to do the priority job, Dad is very happy. He sees that his work style and sense of how to strategically get things done is rubbing off and resulting in a positive workflow. When the successor stays overtime or makes sure that all the necessary work is complete before heading home to attend to family needs, everyone is affirmed for a great work ethic while respecting the needs of the family. One dad  I know is very happy his daughters do the spraying and the books.

4. They Ask Me for Advice, Even When They Don’t Have a Need for It

I recall having tea with an elderly retired farmer whose joy was to watch the farm activities out his kitchen window. He said, “Elaine, I sure wish the boys would just let me know when they are buying a new tractor, I still have an opinion, even though I know they will make the right choice.” It feels good to be consulted for sage advice and wisdom. As boomers, we value age and experience, so we appreciate when the next generation asks for our input. If you are a cocky, arrogant, self-centered successor, I suspect your transition conversations with your parents are not going very well. Asking others for their wisdom, whether it be from your parents, relatives or successful neighbors is a sign of emotional intelligence.

5. They Have Ideas of How to Make Things Better and Have Done the Research

A day on our farm without internet is a difficult day. The next generation relies on texting peers, tweeting, and googling to discover ways to make their farm experience better. Sometimes this means spending the parent’s cash, sometimes What tools and tweaks of the process would make life on your farm more pleasant and productive? What is stopping you from embracing new ideas of doing things? Remember, “Different is not wrong, it is just different.”

6. They Take Pride in What They Are Doing

I will be eternally grateful for my in-laws who in the 1960’s planted, watered and weeded a 10-acre shelterbelt around our yard. They could have skimped on the number of trees, or planted ugly varieties, but their legacy shelters us and gives us the energy to work as we have a beautiful hedgerow. Sometimes folks settle for “good enough” which mirrors an attitude of carelessness and actually ends up creating more work in the end. Consider the times when you don’t bend over to pick up the white papers that escaped from the burn barrel, and then the lawn mower person chews up the paper into bits which scatter quickly all over your formerly lovely green lawn. Laziness or a  careless attitude don’t generate happy feelings.

7. They Listen to What I Need and Ask Me How I Am Feeling

Some nights older farmers don’t sleep well, so it helps to know that Dad needs a little extra grace on the days that his nights were too short. Energy wanes and bodies get sore. Be kind to others as you never know what battles they are facing. Be open to serving each other with love and respect. Be aware of how your dad likes to be affirmed, with words, gifts, time with you or acts of service.

Blessings to you and your family on Father’s Day.

Elaine Froese’s dad Norman Edie was known as a gentle giant. She encourages farm families at Message her on Facebook and like “farm family coach” or call 1-866-848-8311 for coaching. Tweet @elainefroese. Choose to be happy!

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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