Father and adult son in field with cattle© Rex

Dairy farmer David Homer shared his advice on working with your family during his talk at the recent British Cattle Breeding Conference in Telford, Shropshire.

He runs a dairy business in Wiltshire with his wife Jane and three children Chris, Geoff and Anne. The family milks a total of 520 cows.

See also: 10 things only a farmer’s child would know

According to Mr Homer, his eight top tips are:

  • Don’t expect your family to do labour for free. Always reward your children.
  • Encourage your children to have an input into the business. Ask them about their aspirations and objectives. Just because you’ve done something for years, doesn’t mean you can’t change.
  • Identify everyone’s roles and responsibilities on the farm so day-to-day tasks are clear.
  • Meet regularly to monitor progress and identify new KPIs.
  • Play to people’s strengths. If someone is good with people, get them interacting with the public.
  • If family members want to leave the business farm for themselves, let them.
  • Never make any assumptions or pressure them to farm. Let them follow the career paths they choose to take.
  • Don’t whine about how difficult farming is – be positive.