Mothers Day - Farm MomI am looking at my bare garden, waiting for the soil to warm up. The guys are busy in the fields, we’ve been seeding since April 26th. We are celebrating having our family close this weekend. I wish my farm Mom was still alive, she passed away in 1998 at age 65, but I think of her often, and miss her.

She taught me to have a voice, enjoy gardening, and be servant-hearted.

I’d like to know what you think of this blog post, as I see a trend of farm women being left out of land deals.

If you are looking for a way to better communicate with the others on your farm grab a copy of my latest book Building Your Farm Legacy, whichever platform will work best for you!

Lessons to Reflect on From Your Farm Mom

Her voice quivers and she tears up quickly when she mentions her mom’s name. “Elaine I really miss my mom, and I know it was her intention for me to have some of the lands that came down from her family.”

Many well-meaning advisors will tell you to keep emotion and business separate, but I don’t see it that way. The ability to express deep emotions and not hide them is actually a strong trait for good conflict resolution. Tears can mean deep joy, and they can also foreshadow unresolved hurt.

Farm Mom Expectations and Having a Voice

Farmers today are educating daughters to become farm partners, business owners, and tenants of land. Unfortunately, some of the cultures of agriculture has not kept up with the decision making prowess of women in agriculture.

So I am curious, what lessons are you learning from your farm Mom? Does your founding father agree with Mother?

I encourage folks to attack the issues at hand, not the person. If Dad sees the farmland as a guys only domain, my first question is “Why?” My second question would be “Where is it written that females should not own land, and can not rent said land on long-term leases to siblings?” Farmers, male and female need access to land. Women need to have an opportunity to own land and be landlords.

The older widowed women, need to remember what their mothers told them about having a voice in decision making. I see a trend of way too many elderly farm women being bullied by demanding children who can’t wait to cash out on the farmland, yet the acres of access for the farming children need to be made available for the entire family’s financial security. The fight is over cash flow, greed, and unreasonable expectations. Are we clear?

My mother’s Irish DNA likely gave her some impetus to be very strong in how she came across, but she was not always well received. We can temper the tonality of our conversations with a decision to be gracious, patient in our listening, and curious about taking the other person’s perspective.

Do you know what it might feel like to be female, well educated, skilled in business, and yet not given a chance to have a share in the farm assets? Do you remember what it felt like when you first got a chance to have equity in your own name? The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is another great conflict skill that everyone needs to embrace.

If your mother taught you to stay silent if you couldn’t say something nice, release the gremlins your mother passed on to you. Having a voice that is heard and respected is important for preventing divorce on farms. Each person needs to feel that they are listened to and understood. Biting your tongue is not helpful unless you are simply delaying your response so that all parties have a chance to cool down. You are not going to “sweep things under the carpet” and pretend that everything is fine!

Here’s an excerpt from a woman who broke through the wall of avoiding conversations by learning how to have family meetings:

I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently.  You asked us to let you know what we implemented and how it affects our farm/family.  So here’s my update…

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.

We will hold monthly meetings.  But we made a rule that it only takes 2 members in agreement to call an ’emergency’ meeting anytime between monthly meetings.

Thank you for sharing the way you do, and for helping those of us who aren’t financially able to hire a transition planner.  Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business.

Age and Wisdom You Need as a Farm Mom

The last time I saw my mother alive was in July 1998 when we had a family meeting with her accountant, my siblings, and my farming father. She died 6 weeks later unexpectedly of an asthma attack during harvest. She was only 65.

I will be 65 in 30 months. That time will fly by.

Today I encourage you to reflect on the healthy habits that your mom helped you develop, and the ones that are no longer serving you well. How you think, feel and behave can be a positive cycle to help you overcome challenges.

Farming this year may have a truckload of stress ahead, but each day we get to choose how we respond to our family dynamics, and what story we are telling ourselves.

Take some time this week to reach out to your Mom and show your love, respect, and appreciation in a tangible way. That could be a gift, time with her, a phone call, a card, or simply asking her what she would like from you.

We are all deeply affected by the people we surround ourselves with. If your family dynamics are strained, perhaps it is time to ask for help and seek professional counseling.  Embrace your losses, your grief, your sadness and find new coping strategies.

Let’s all watch our language and assumptions about what women can and cannot do in our ever-changing culture of agriculture. Men and women can be stronger when they are working for the same vision together.

Watch “Finding Fairness in Farm Transition” for a new way of looking at fairness.

Strong families celebrate, so find a loving way to say thanks to your Mom.

Also, make sure you don’t miss my “Sparking Successful Conversations” talk on June 12, 2019, at the Persephone Theatre! For more information, click here!

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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