Practical Tips for Farm Resiliency – Some Jobs we Love, Some are Slogs

You Actually Like to Wash Eggs?

Small Bites are short, informational articles with practical ideas about stress reduction, improved communication, and family well-being. They are written by coaches from UMaine Extension’s Farm Coaching team. Farm Coaches are available at no cost to work remotely with farmers and farm families.

Tip: Essayist Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Master Gardener Volunteers collect fresh produce to distribute to hungry Mainers

All of us have our preferred activities. One farm partner or team member might love setting up new systems while another takes the greatest joy in organizing. One person might find troubleshooting a broken piece of equipment the most difficult thing while another really can’t stand washing eggs. Fixing fence, website maintenance, irrigation, payroll, sharpening harvest knives…each could go either way, depending on one’s preferences.

Getting clear and honest with these preferences can be really fruitful. Like the SWOC analysis (referenced in a previous Small Bite), this can be done on a large sheet of paper together or individually and then shared. Learning about the most preferred jobs and the slogs of your farm partner and members of the farm team can help in the most obvious way: more of the joy jobs, more help through the slogs. If a job is a joy, is there a way for me to do MORE of that job or type of job? If a job is a slog for someone, is there a way to do LESS of that job or type of job? How can the rest of the team help accomplish this task either for or with the person? Of course, we all have to do things we don’t really love doing but if we can admit to these preferences and ask for help or accept help that is offered, a day might just go along in a better way.

If you want to dig deeper, farm coaches can walk you through an exercise or send you a worksheet about roles and responsibilities, which is is a great way to learn more. And here is a great article about resilient leaders. Reach out to the Farm Coaches at UMaine Extension. No topic is too small.