Farmers from all over the world often tell us how stressed they are, especially during seeding and harvesting. That is actually why we have decided to create an affordable tractor navigation system FieldBee that every farmer in the world can benefit from.
We have decided to ask farmers from our community that live in 140 countries how do they cope with stress:
- what gives them the biggest headaches and
- what helps them most of all?
We hope you will enjoy the reading their answers as much as we did. As the most important thing that keeps farmers doing their incredible job for so long time is humor:)
Farmers from The United States, Paraguay, Finland, Slovenia, Greece, Belize, South Africa, India and many other places took the time to make their input and answered our questions. Regardless whether they work on a small-size family-farm or manage thousands of hectares, they all seem to struggle with the same issues.
“I’m a 4th generation farmer… and my farm probably won’t make it to a 5th,
in spite of my hard work.”
What gives farmers the biggest headache?
79% of the farmers we asked admitted that they work more than 9 hours a day, 22% of them regularly has more than 12 hour shifts.They often need to do fieldwork in suboptimal conditions, drive at night and in low visibility. 38% of them do most of the work completely alone.
Farmers deal with many stressful situations on a regular basis, many of these are out of their control. Naturally, the unpredictability of the weather gives them the biggest headache. Most of the farmers we asked mentioned delays in planting or harvesting or crop loss due to the unfavorable weather conditions.
We also found that the increasingly complex government policies and regulations put lots of burden on the farmers. Financial concerns and fluctuating commodity prices are common problems as well, the farmers in our community pointed out the “problems with selling the crop, delay in invoice payment”. Maintaining the machines can also be an endless source of frustration due to the shortage of parts, too old machinery or machinery breakdown during fieldwork.
So how do farmer deal with all this stress?
Farmers have many unique ways to deal with stress. They shared some of their tips with us.
1.Don’t forget to have a good laugh now and then
Our community taught us that the best way to cope with stress is to have a good sense of humour.
- “I consume a lot of alcohol and I also attend church regularly. (in order to cover all the bases)”
- “I realized that it helps if you have a cat or dog and if you get to know your cows and spend time with some of them because cows are a little like pets once u get to know them”
- “Drink more beer – that helps”
2. Make technology work for you
Another frequent advice is to take advantage of technology that helps to make work a bit easier. There are many apps to get accurate weather forecast, track the materials used and easily make reports. Automation of certain tasks also saves time and energy, for example using automated feeding system or equipping the tractors with autosteer.
- “Electrify your manure and feeding systems if you have cattle. This will save time and money.”
- “Make use of a decent weather service. Use a proper driving assistant.”
- “Always make sure your tools are ready and fixed before you use it extensively. I would prefer going auto steer on my tractors. If you can, that will definitely make working less stressful.”
Do you want to learn more about new apps and tech tools that are available for farmers? Let us know about it and we will share what tools help farmers from our community.
3. Know that you are not alone
Sometimes it might help to know that you are not alone. Many other farmers struggle with the same issues. The most common advice that farmers in our community gave is to spend time with friends and family.
- “I would like to think that having your family closely involved in the farm really helps, both with high quality trainable labor, but also a close family bond. Also, work early rather than late seams to be working for me”
- “Once a month take a weekend away from the farm”
- “Open mind, never stop learning, read a lot, educate yourself, take risks, calculate risks, make use of your time, never leave your family aside for the sake of work.”
- “Collaborate with others you can talk about it. That makes the job so much more enjoyable than alone.”
- “Involve friends. Relationships are the best way to reduce stress. It’s hard to let them in to help but you’ll find they want to help out if you ask them to.”
Here’s what shared farmers with us. And what do you do to cope with stress? Do you have any tips?
Please tell us (and other farmers) in the comments below.
Interested in how we can help you to make work less stressful?
Read how the FieldBee tractor navigation system assists John E. Council on his farm in the Mountains of North-Carolina
Find out how we installed automatic steering on the tractor of our Dutch customer, Henry Bierens