Farmer on holiday
If your significant other is a farmer then you are probably aware of how difficult it can be to organise a getaway. Summer in particular can be a very difficult time to pry them away on a holiday. Some of the reasons are simply down to being self employed. As any self employed person will tell you it’s hard to put off work you can’t afford to miss out on. However farming comes with the added pressure that comes with having to work around weather, animals and deadlines/ open dates from the department. For that reason many farmers struggle to find the time to leave.They will constantly find reasons to push the holidays back, to give excuses why now isn’t a good time and why a compromise stay in a town a few miles away will do, just to shut you up.
However it is important for farmers’ mental health to get away from the farm occasionally. So even though it might seem easier to say “feck you and your fecking farm”, and head off to a beach on your own it is worth the bit of extra planning so that your S.O can join you. So to help you along we have put together some tips to help make the whole process go a bit easier. Hopefully it can help avoid some shouting matches.
Know your farmer
First thing you need to know is what sort of farming your S.O is involved in. This will help you decide what time of the year you can plan your holiday. For example a sheep farmer might be happy to go on summer holidays if you can find the right person to keep an eye on the flock, while a dairy farmer is more likely willing to go away with you when the cows are dried off. For this reason many dairy farmers will head off to Spain or the Canaries in January. Planning around your S.O busiest times on the farm can hugely increase your chances of getting them dragged away without a fuss.
When to Plan
This can be a difficult one. Planning well in advance and giving your S.O plenty of time to prepare everything on the farm is good practice. However the unpredictable nature of farming means that you could be leaving yourself open to losing deposits. Weather is a much bigger issue in farming and can force changes to the yearly plan. The weather might suddenly take up for silage making just when you have them at the door, suitcase in hand! For this reason it is often best to say well in advance that you are planning holidays for a certain month so that they know they need to have things in order, but hold off on actually booking until closer to the time to see what farm life throws at you. This may mean you will have to pay extra but it could save you in cancellation fees in the long run.
Get a relief worker that your S.O trusts. It’s best to have them in a few times before you are planning on going away. This will give your S.O a chance to get to know them and train them in properly, before being expected to leave them in charge of their livelihood. The few days before you’re due to head off are not enough to build up that relationship. You don’t want to have them make a mistake the day before you’re due to leave and have your S.O decide they can’t leave at all. Or worse, have them make a mistake while you’re away and scare your S.O into never going on another holiday ever again!!
However as farmers are always reluctant to have someone new “annoying them” as they work, you will have to use a bit of forceful blackmail. Let them know that you are planning the holiday whether they have someone trained in or not! This will usually be enough to convince them it’s a good idea to start the search.
Choosing where to go
When choosing where to take your holidays don’t just pick what sounds great to you. If you really want to go on a holiday with them then you need to include your S.O. If they start giving excuses, saying they don’t want, can’t afford or don’t need to take a holiday and refuse to make suggestions you will need to decide for them. If you are deciding for them, choose somewhere you know they’ve always wanted to go. It’s a lot harder to turn down a holiday if you have a passion to go there. This may take some research and extra work but the chances of successfully getting them on board will drastically increase.
Getting them to relax
Once you finally get them dragged away from their livestock and machinery you will still need some patience. It could take them up to 3 days to relax depending on where you are. There will be attempts at calls home so you will need to lay some guidelines. For example you can leave a 10 min window each evening for them to call home to keep their mind at ease. This can help let them relax and get on with their holiday. However you should have your farm worker at home warned that unless the farm is burning down, the only reply to any question is “it’s going great, better than when you’re here”. Also be aware that for the first while waking up at 6 or 7 as normal, eager to get out and do something could be an annoying habit. If you really love them you can get up and get your day started early. If you’ve gone on holiday so as to be able to have a lie in send them off on a walk alone and enjoy your peace and quiet.
Finally you will also need to have patience with their constant commenting on the quality of the grass, cattle/sheep and machinery in the local area. If you really can’t stand that then you can consider a city break. However bear in mind that farmers in the city are completely out of their comfort zone and you are likely to be just exchanging “poor grass” comments for “how can anyone live like this”, “and they blame my cows for global warming” or “No sense of personal space” comments.
So there you have it. Our six tips to getting your farming partner to go on a relaxing holiday. Hopefully it will help some of you have a more enjoyable experience in the future. And remember to enjoy yourself as much as possible as well. It’s not only farmers who need a rest for their mental health!