This is one we all watch for and hate to have happen. There are plenty of them around and we need to be mindful we don’t add to the collective. In Farming we have dogs, dogs and more dogs, there are pets, then there are working dogs who know all of the swear words under the sun. They work for farmers and they are amazing when in action. We have dogs that we love and treat well.
Farming life brings many a thing starting with D but there are Days and I mean Days, where everything can go wrong and does and things can go right. I watch for the big one though, farming is challenging at the best of times and I love hearing people who have left the farm and moved to the city, where they have families close, jobs and children then make statements like “I would love to live back on the farm but” there is always a but… What I hear from women who leave the farm is, I am so glad we left, we have better schooling, don’t have to worry about not fitting into “the A group” , feeling isolated, having to drive 100’s kms a day and a regular income, wished we would have done it sooner”. Which is more realistic than anything.
Farming is also about watching for depression, the black dog that can creep in when the things go wrong or not the way one wants it to go. Most buyers of livestock except to get things a prices paid in 2009, butchers don’t want you to sell your produce in their area but won’t buy from you and cropper’s rely on commodity markets and the weather that also is non reliable. Farmers are the only producers in the world where they are expected to pay double for everything and companies resent them if they make a profit.
Had I known how hard it would be I don’t know that I would have chosen it, but I think it chose me. There are days where things can seem bleak and difficult and I watch for it, I think many a farming wife does. I assist where I can, lamb marking, calf marking, ear tagging, drafting, moving tractors and vehicles, book work, animal raising and in other aspects of the business so that it can take the pressure off. I also make arrangements to leave the property even if it is only 1 night so that there is a break in the month even though we both know we have to come back to the same same the next day.
I think caring for ones mental health is vital and also that of those who work on the land, it is rewarding as it is difficult. I ask are you okay most times he comes into the house not just so I can hear about his day but I can judge how he is going. Farmers have the highest suicide rate than any other occupation due to the stress, something I am very aware of. Something I hope doesn’t touch my life.
If you know a farmer, plan a holiday on their property, they love company and many have the best meat in their freezers that they will share with you. They find it hard to holiday and leave animals unattended. Ask them if they need help, buy the best meat or produce direct they will sell the best quality cheaper than you can get in supermarkets and feel flattered by your request. If they don’t have meat they will know someone who does. They are great educators, mechanics and are more than happy to assist, company is sometimes the best medicine, it will give you and your children a different view on life.