happier harvest

People just can’t be expected to work 24/7 (all the time). It’s no wonder he can’t keep a hired man!

I use two hats with index card labels. One hat is the BOSS, and one is MANAGER.

We have to make an intentional choice about our approach with our employees. Harvest is the crucible of communication strengths and weaknesses. Here’s my encouragement for managing a happier harvest this year:


A BOSS says “It’s my way or the highway. I don’t have time to mess around with your ideas.”

A MANAGER says “ Tell me more about… what height you think we should cut at and why. This is our plan for which crops we’ll harvest first. Keep me posted with your radio or cell phone.”

Work Ethic

A BOSS says “We work all the time cause the most important thing is money; I’ll just pay you more. There’s no time for fun or family; there’s too much work to do.”

A MANAGER says “We work smart as a team. When it rains will have a rest, and my shift workers are thrilled they only need to show up here five days a week! Let’s all enjoy a special supper together to celebrate the end of harvest.”

Power, Control, and Decisions

A BOSS says “I own this combine so listen to me. I’ll make the final decision and tell you what I decide.”

A MANAGER says “Some decisions are like leaves on a tree. You have the skills to make a lot of decisions without my input. Make a decision and act on it. For the bigger decisions, talk to me before you take action.” (See Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott, the Decision Tree p.118.)

[Tweet “#Farmers, make harvest less #stressful. Here’s how to manage a happier #harvest.”]

Training and Learning

A BOSS says “Man! He has been watching me run this place for five years; he should just know what to do! He should figure out how to set the grain monitor and the sieves on his own!”

A MANAGER says “ I am glad we took lots of time getting the combines ready. Everyone understands how to use the new monitors, and they feel okay about asking for help when things don’t work right. Our goal is to teach, learn and let go so that everyone gains more skills. We try to minimize mistakes like forgetting to put the gas cap back on after fueling the combine. We watch out for each other.”

Helpful Systems

The BOSS says “We just don’t have time to keep track of each truck’s weight off the field. Take that paperwork to town and let them figure it out! I don’t want to spend time keeping track of work hours or wading through that manual!”

The MANAGER says “ I thought these systems that we put in place would help us measure what we need to change. It just takes a few extra minutes to weigh the trucks, and document the harvest conditions. I always felt that if you can’t measure it, you can’t change it!”


The BOSS says “I don’t have time to stop and eat a hot meal. Sandwiches for eight weeks helps me eat on the run. I’m not as young as I used to be, but I can still keep myself running hard during harvest. I expect you to work just like me. Your paycheck should be thanks enough.”

The MANAGER says “Let me trade you off while you have a decent supper and a short break. I would rather have the combines running smoothly with no errors than deal with the costly downtime when operator fatigue sets in. You are doing a great job, and I really appreciate your good harvest habits. You are careful to check that you are not throwing grain out the back, or missing strips.”

I love harvest. Each year brings new challenges, but keep in mind that the people on your farm are your most important asset. Think about the ways you can intentionally manage a happier harvest this year. All the best to you as you keep those combines humming. I hope you’re humming, too!

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

Book Elaine
for your next event

Contact Elaine to start the conversation.

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

Contact Elaine