17 ups and downs of working on the family farm

Like most of our readers, many of the journalists at Farmers Weekly are from farming families and have grown up working alongside their parents.

For the most part we loved it (our parents certainly aren’t the reason we all decided to leave the farm to work in agri-journalism) but there are the odd niggles that we would like to share with you, as we suspect we are not alone in this.

A few years back we shared 10 pitfalls of farming with your dad, but we all know this isn’t an exhaustive list.

So here are some more pitfalls – as well as the plus points – to family farming. Because, if we’re honest, working with your parents really isn’t all bad.

The pitfalls

1. You suggest something and it gets ignored. Give it a couple of months – or maybe a year later – and sure enough they will suggest exactly the same idea and it will be the best thing ever.

2. You will always be the one moving sheep or cattle on foot in the pouring rain while they hoon around, bellowing commands from the comfort of the Land Rover.

See also: A step-by-step guide to disbudding calves

3. You are expected to be a mind reader. Dad has some elaborate plan of how he sees a job working out, what needs to happen when, what you need to do and so on. Does he share this information with you? No. Does he shout at you when it all goes horribly wrong? Oh yes.

Father and son

© Cultura/Rex/Shutterstock

4. Mum and Dad will always to tell you how to do a simple task that you’ve done countless times before, as if you’re from the planet Mars and you’ve never seen a drench gun before.

5. A bitterly cold winter’s night feeding the cattle means Dad presenting you with endless silage bales in the jaws of the tractor grab to cut open and unwrap. Got a slap in the face from the juicy, semi-frozen black plastic? That wouldn’t happen if you moved a bit quicker.

See also: Video: How to properly set up a crop sprayer

6. The words “I’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever know” will never stop making your blood boil.

7. Woe betide you if you prang the truck on the gate post or slide the tractor gracefully into a ditch. They have never done anything like that in their entire life, of course.

8. You realise one day that all the jobs you’re good at are the ones you ended up doing because Dad doesn’t like doing them. But try getting a chance to do the fun stuff.

9. There is no mercy after a night out, no matter how late you got in.

10. No conversation is needed when you get to a gate – it’s your job to manhandle the heavy steel barrier come rain or shine, with not even a thanks from the warm cab.

11. It’s fine when Mum or Dad have really had enough and fancy clocking off early for the day, but you ask for a Saturday off and it’s like you’ve just asked for £1m.

The plus points

1. They are always good for buying breakfast in the market canteen.

2. Some parents may cheerfully admit to making all the mistakes you did when they were young – or if they don’t their siblings, parents and mates will dob them in.

Grandfather and grandson

© Cultura/Rex/Shutterstock

3. They always know how to fix the problem that is beyond you and have seen it all before.

4. Once you eventually go and work for someone else, you realise how lenient your parents can be.

5. You get to spend so much more time with your family than your non-farming friends do.

6. You’re a great team and share the ups and downs together – high and low prices, good and bad weather, unexpected triumphs and disasters.

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