Years ago as I flipped the chart of papers from the young farmer’s seminar in St. John’s a phrase caught my eye. A young producer had shared that one of the key insights of the day was “I am not alone”.

Farm families are quite surprised to hear me affirm them with the words “you are not alone” in their journey of conflict. Many families across the country are quick to hide what is really going on inside the farm kitchen door. They are proud, independent, self-sufficient entrepreneurs who have no desire to “air their dirty laundry.”

The funny thing about iconic Newfoundland pictures is you will often see an artist’s rendering of the laundry being strung out to dry with the sea winds.

On June 11 during our Farming’s In-Law Factor virtual event, a young mom told the story of her big breakthrough when she finally reached out to her mother-in-law and directly asked for help. She understood one of my coaching phrases “love does not read minds.” You can’t assume your spouse or parents know what you need. You don’t have to suffer alone. Ask!

Don’t let your family issues go on autopilot and drift. Use the thinking and reflecting time on the tractor to set up a game plan to embrace your farm team in a great strategic vision session. In July the rallying cry for many farm families is “how do we block time for fun?” It’s going to take some intentional planning to take a few hours off to share rodeo memories with your young son, and really be present to create those memories. You might need to ask a neighbour to help swap time to do chores so you can stay a few hours longer at a wedding or family gathering.

Many young farm moms are venting their frustration on social media about the lack of time for family on farms. It would be great to check in with the younger farm parents in your area (male and female) to see how you might lend a hand in being emotional support. You can also challenge the current thinking by saying “Where is it written we have to work EVERY DAY on this farm?

Who is your emotional support group beyond the farm? I find scrolling a time-waster when I get more support from actual conversations on my phone while I am walking down my lane to increase my steps for the day. As a young mom, I shared a weekly date in helping care for my friend’s son every Thursday, and she returned the favour on Tuesdays. This gave us each one day a week to call our own for other projects and tasks without the extra stress of keeping young kids safe.

I challenge you to drop your pride filters and reach out to folks who can help you facilitate solutions to your conflict around “lack of family time.”

My grandchildren have a book called “Dadurday” which is a play on words for having Dad around on Saturday. The children in the story make lists of what they would like to do with dad when he is not working. Farming can be a 24/7 demand, but you must draw some boundaries for self-care, marriage time, and family expectations. My grandkids sometimes make lists of the special things they would like to do with Dad on Sundays. On Sundays we rest, go to church, have family time, and let go of the farm work. We know this is not typical in today’s culture of agriculture. When our employee of 35 years was asked why he liked to work on our farm he said, “52 Sundays off.”

If you need to jump off your hay mower to put kids to bed, tuck them in and read stories, you likely will get teased by the folks who don’t see it as important. As I was walking the lane, I checked my watch. 8:30 YUP, kids tucked in bed, and my son was headed to the field in the high clearance sprayer. We have the technology to set timers and reminders on our phones. The currency of time in 2022 is likely as important as the currency of dollars.

Can you reach out and ask for help? When you get badly stuck during seeding, you quickly ask for help, because time is of the essence. Recall what it feels like to be stuck, frustrated, and feeling helpless to get out of the mess you are in.

The dance between work and play is ongoing on farms. Every season is a new opportunity to challenge how you have been doing things, ask for help, and let go of what is not working.

Conflict is not bad; it just needs to be resolved. Being lonely and isolated is not good for your mental wellness. Working your body too hard will land you in trouble. You are not a machine. You need to block time for self-care, fun, and family relationships.

Strong families celebrate, communicate, and connect with their community. With Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linked In you may think you belong to many communities. Who really knows what is going on at your farm? It is time to be transparent with a mentor you can trust and reach out for creative solutions to “being alone”?

Pretending that all is well on the farm to protect your image and feed your pride is not helping you craft the healthy legacy that will sustain a profitable farm.

As agriculture producers, we are now less than 2% of the Canadian population, which makes us a unique culture…and a minority.

Venting on social media about your family situations may create a fleeting sense of relief, but ultimately you need to act to adopt a new family pattern for your farm family.

You are not alone.

Help is a cell phone call away, and a click on the internet.

Make the call. Build a campfire with your kids. Play.

Remember, it is your farm, your family, and your choice. Make great choices this summer for family time.


Elaine Froese, CAFA, CSP, CHICoach, and her coaching team are ready to help you facilitate tough conversations to build harmony through understanding. Visit here to book a free discovery call.

Did you enjoy You are not alone? You might want to check these articles out too:

When it is hard to honour Mom what can I do?
Can Farm Dad become Mentor Coach?
Why I am glad I took Mental Health First Aid

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.


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“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.”
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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
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Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
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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
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Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
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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
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“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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