For New Farmers
How can I prevent my relationships from falling apart from the pressures of farming?
There's no denying that farming can strain a marriage or business partnership. This is one of the most frightening risks associated with a farming career. But there are things you can do to minimize the risk and protect your relationships.
- Try to be clear from the beginning about your personal and family goals and visions. Get on the "same page."
- Make sure that your farm business fits with your family's lifestyle.
- Learn about work and communications styles and develop your communication skills.
- Read books and/or take classes about managing relationships.
- Develop positive habits such as regular family or business meetings.
- Purdue's Farm and Family Connections series has a number of relevant publications, including: Communication in the Family; Balancing Work and Family; Recognizing and Managing Stress; and Involving the Family in Goal Setting and Decision Making. You can view each of these online at www.agecon.purdue.edu/extension/programs/fbm21/connections.htm
- Holistic Management (R) helps families and farm partners clarify their goals and develop an improved decision-making process. http://www.holisticmanagement.org/
- NESFI's Exploring the Small Farm Dream workbook and course encourages aspiring farmers to discuss their goals and values. Some course participants have said--only slightly tongue-in-cheek--that it was the best marriage counseling they ever had.