Small Bites- Methods of Communication Part 3

Authored by Coaches Polly Shyka and Abby Sadauckas

Small Bites are short, informational articles with practical ideas about stress reduction, improved communication, and farmer 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. 

Methods of Communication – Part 3

It’s helpful for farmers to remember that effective communication is critical to the overall performance and outcomes on the farm…That is even more true when farm activities are the most hectic. There’s always something to do on the farm, and it’s important to remember communication practices always affect the farm’s bottom line. Dr. B. Lynn Gordon, South Dakota State University Assistant Professor and Extension Leadership Specialist at the College of Agricultural and Biological Sciences and College of Education and Human Sciences.

  • How has in-person communication changed in the age of this pandemic?
  • How does it feel when you have to talk louder, enunciate more, and consider your body as you communicate with your farm team?
  • How often are you doing some or all of these things while wearing a mask?
  • How has it changed to talk with customers at the farmers’ market?

2 sheep bleating at each other

At our farm, we’ve always joked about having “creative hearing” which is another way to say, “I misheard you!” While physical distancing is important, it can’t be underestimated how important in-person communication is to us.

For direct market farmers, ensuring that you’re offering ways to connect and hear from your customers continues to be critical. A quick check-in question such as, “How are you doing this week?” or “Anything special planned for the weekend?” can create a space for connection. The same goes for co-workers, of course. Monday morning seems a natural time to hear stories and news. During more stationary tasks, check-ins with those we work with is always a good bet.

Sign up with a farm coach to reflect on your current methods of communication and find new strategies to adapt to the changing communication needs of your farm.