Blogs

How to Help Dad Emotionally When It's Time to Quit FarmingI recently posted about farm dads and the important role they play on the farm. After that, a reader asked me to write about the emotions of quitting farming for these important figures. Let’s take the approach of the farm culture attributes farm founders appreciate. What might it feel like when those qualities are present or missing on the farm team?

1. Respect

The transitioning manager (not the boss) who is letting go of being the ultimate decision maker still wants and needs his opinion considered. A seed-grower retired and abruptly felt like his opinion was not important anymore. I found this surprising as I put a high value on elder wisdom and experience. I think young farmers are wise if they consider the sage advice of their parents. If you are sad about a lack of respect in your farm experience, talk about it, don’t just stuff away your disappointment. Showing respect earns more respect.

2. Appreciation

Small business coach Tom Hubler, says “the lack of appreciation” is one of the key stumbling blocks in a successful farm succession plan. Just last week a  farmer confessed that he could likely show more appreciation to his farming son. This is urgent because the son is not convinced he can work alongside his parents for the next 15 years. The emotions they showed at that table were tears of fear when they realized that their 40 years of toil, risk, and growth may not be a secure legacy to the next generation. How are you showing appreciation to others on your farm? Father’s Day is the perfect chance to make a special effort to write a short card to Dad and express words of appreciation.

[Tweet “7 #emotions your #farm father is facing when quitting #farming and how you can help him.”]

3. Success Mindset

What is your definition of success? If it is richness in relationships than a harmonious culture on your farm will make you feel deeply grateful and satisfied. If you are not on speaking terms with siblings, in-laws, or grandchildren due to silent treatment and conflict, you are likely feeling like a failure. Unfortunately, as a coach, I do not possess magic fairy dust to sprinkle on grumpy people to make them behave well as emotionally mature adults. If success is eluding you, are you ready to call in help for counseling and do deep communication work?

4. Timely Effort, a Healthy Work Ethic

Farm dads who have a hard time stopping their work are likely “lazy in relationship” as they tend to over-work and under-relate. If your identity is tied to what you “do,” then the crisis of letting go of your roles on the farm is likely going to leave you floundering and grieving. Healthy managers who hand over responsibility over time usually have a new dream or goal to work towards that energizes them. I can’t say that I know that many retired farmers. One that is happy has moved to town, supports his farming children by driving out to help on request, and spends lots of time playing with grandchildren. If farm work has become an untamable monster, what are you going to do when you wake up in a hospital bed someday and wonder where all your friends have gone? It’s time to feel great about what you have contributed, be grateful for the years left to create new meaning and purpose. You are “getting ready” for a new chapter that no longer includes 100 hours of work. You will be okay.

5. Growth in Business, Technology is Exciting or Fear-Inducing

Don’t forget to grow the skill sets of your people. One farm founder is causing grief because his sense of self-worth is dependent on the farm business continually expanding. He is not listening to the younger generation whose energy is maxed out, while they are begging for more time with children. If your self-worth is tied to the size of your net worth statement you may be sad that you aren’t as rich as you thought you would be at this stage in your life. Again, what is true wealth? Ralph Waldo Emerson says “your health is your wealth.”

6. Fun

It is okay to play and have a culture of fun on your farm. If folks are happy and getting along as a team you are likely a very happy farmer. Many folks who request coaching think that increasing their communication skills will help them get along better. Sometimes I wonder if a good holiday and long rest would be more helpful. Your body is not a John Deere/Case IH tractor. We need rest and renewal, and we need to pay attention to sadness that just doesn’t lift which might be depression. Emotionally, I want you to give yourself permission to enjoy the fruit of your labor and have some fun!

Be radical and stop working on Sundays! This works at our farm.

7. Leadership

Strong fathers are great leaders of their families and farms. They also allow team engagement and other family members to “lead from any chair.” They don’t have a need to always be in control or to have the last word on key decisions. Brene Brown talks about leading a “wholehearted” life.  She suggests that writing down experiences of heartbreak and grief have emerged as the most help in making clear to people what they were feeling so they could articulate it to each other. Be an empathetic leader.

“Time is the most important gift you can give your family” – Frederick Goddall

I would be really interested to hear about the feelings you experienced when you “quit” farming. I have a new presentation called “Planting Hope Amidst Grief and Loss on the Farm.” We need to recognize there are many kinds of losses in life, not just financial ones. I lost my farming dad to Alzheimer’s and then to death 5 years ago. Be grateful if you have a live, loving father to celebrate with. Make good memories this year, and be free to share your true feelings. Blessings on your journey.

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

Book Elaine
for your next event

Contact Elaine to start the conversation.

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

Contact Elaine