When’s the last time you sat down and thought critically about who does each job on the farm? I mean REALLY thought about it?

Certain roles typically go to certain people within a farm — dad might be the lead combine driver, or always driving the seeder, while sons and daughters may have to work their way up from water truck driver to grain truck and finally on to the tractor. Where’s mum? Often in the house, cooking meals, fielding phone calls, (wo)maning the two-way radio and keeping the books.

Let’s just ignore for a minute the reasons why some of these roles evolved this way, that’s a post for another day, but it’s high time to challenge who is in charge of what on the farm. Why? Because assigning roles based on tradition or gender is, potentially, hamstringing the farm business. Instead, roles should be assigned based on aptitude, talent and interest.

As farm family coach, Elaine Froese discusses with Real Agriculture editor Lyndsey Smith in the interview below, women make excellent farm managers because of not only their ability to multi-task, but also the inherent ability to balance the human resource side of a family business dynamic, a sentiment echoed by farm buiness consultant Merle Good.

Matching the right person to the job they’ll do best may mean big changes on the farm — and that’s got the potential to cause conflict. How do you approach assessing the farm team’s strength?

As Froese discusses, there are several resources available for farms and farmers (you can find the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council toolkit here), but the first step to fine-tuning farm management is being open to change.

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