Jacob Anthony: Farm lifestyle can be hard on relationships

There is a common misconception that farming is an idyllic lifestyle, consisting of lush green meadows, frolicking lambs and cute calves.

It often seems as though most people who are not from an agricultural background truly believe this, and yearn for this perceived lifestyle for themselves. Unfortunately, in the real world farming is not so idyllic.

You have to be a special sort of character to combat the emotional and physical rollercoaster ride that a farmer’s life will take you on.

See also: Read more from Jacob Anthony

If I was given a pound every time someone said to me: “It must be amazing to live on a farm” or “You are so lucky to be a farmer”, I would be a very rich man and wouldn’t be sweating at the current downward spiral in beef prices.

Not all rosy

I wonder how lucky these folk would feel getting out of bed to calve a cow at 3am in the piddling rain or working 18-plus hour days for weeks at a time in a fraught effort to get the harvest in.

Meanwhile, you’re seeing pictures and videos of your mates enjoying many a beer at social events you have had to turn down.

What about the countless sleepless nights worrying where to find capital to pay for livestock feed, machinery and infrastructure?

All these are critical to the running of our businesses. Farming doesn’t sound quite so lucky and idyllic when you include those real-life scenarios, does it?

It’s important that people realise the commitment and dedication that this life takes, there is no point buttering it up to be something it is not.

Tough on relationships

This lifestyle can affect facets of your personal life. Regular hobbies are very hard to commit to;  accepting invitations to functions can be a very tricky one, too.

All because you never know what surprises the farm may spring upon you.

It can also have a huge impact on relationships, something I have recently found out first-hand. The farm tie and workload proved to be too much for my long-term partner.

So many aspects of the farming lifestyle were very different to what she had envisaged, and over time it took its toll.

Sadly, this is a scenario that’s not uncommon in the agricultural world – relationships often become casualties.

There are too many false illusions surrounding agriculture. There are lots of people that try the life and soon find it’s not for them.

Others may take a bit more time to realise this, but everyone should have their eyes open to what farming really involves.

Farming is the life I have chosen and it’s one I wouldn’t change for the world. Yes it has its major downs, but it also has its incredible highs.

I have been born into this wonderful industry, it’s in my blood – I don’t know any different and nor would I want to.

Farming is full of incredible people living out a life that most normal folk could never cope with. I am very proud of the fact that we are a standalone industry that is unique in nearly every aspect.

This work takes great resilience of character that not everyone is equipped with, but those who are should count themselves lucky.

To live this lifestyle you must have a true passion for either the industry itself or the person that’s in your life who is living it.